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Handcuffed Man Makes A Break For Freedom In Broward Courtroom

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FT. LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – It’s sometimes called a courtroom battle, but it’s not supposed to get physical. Tell that to Ernest Burch, a man who ignored a judge’s order and was being packed off to jail before he decided to attack a bailiff. The whole thing was caught on camera.

Burch was in court Thursday for allegedly violating a pre-trial release order that required him to stay away from his former girlfriend, Marie Penelus.

The judge yanked his release and ordered him taken off to jail, when Bunch apparently decided he had other plans. As courtroom cameras caught it all, he struggled with deputy Gerald Crowther, who had started to handcuff him.

Burch tried to twist away, and then pushed the deputy, as he tried to break out of the courtroom.

Crowther was seen yanking him back, then, Burch changed direction,moving toward Penelus and yelling “baby,just give me a kiss.”

Two attorneys there for other cases jumped in to help.

“The deputy, who I know, is having trouble with him so I jumped up,” explained Assistant State Attorney Andrew Newman. “Quite frankly I tried to tackle him into the side of the courtroom.”

Attoreny Nirav Jamindar sprang into action as well, to help the bailiff who was still hanging on to the handcuff.

“As soon as I saw him,” Jamindar said, “I knew he was going to resist because I didn’t see him go into the cuffs. So as soon as I saw him start to pull away, I put my cell phone down and I just ran after him and tackled him into a corner.”

As the bailiff and attorneys have Burch tackled in a corner, he was still struggling to get away, but not getting anywhere, when a virtual herd of other bailiffs poured in from other parts of the courthouse and wrestled Burch out of the courtroom.

“He tried to make a break for it,” said Jamindar, “unfortunately, he was out of luck because we got him.”

And here’s a strange coincidence – this isn’t the first time that assistant state attorney Newman was in the courtroom room when a suspect decided he didn’t want to go quietly. Two years ago – a judge jumped over the bench like the caped crusader, right in front of Newman when another man resisted the cuffs and went after his girlfriend.

In addition to the charges already facing Burch, he was charged with violating a court order, battery, resisting arrest with violence, and a second violation of the court order, this time with violence.

He won’t soon get the chance to violate it a third time; Burch was ordered held without bond.

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