MIAMI (CBS4) – A Broward Sheriff’s deputy caught on camera unloading a torrent of obscenities and threats — including death at the hands of alligators — at a man being investigated for causing a disturbance was issued a written reprimand and allowed back on the force.
The video from a patrol car of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper captures Deputy Alan Dubinski speaking to Jessie Merchant, a man with whom Dubinski has a law-enforcement related history, as Merchant was being investigated for causing a disturbance.
The scene unfolded in Weston last July. FHP was first on the scene and told Merchant they were going to give him a warning when Dubinski arrived.
“What’s up with you today, Jessie?” Dubinski asks, as he walked up to Merchant.
Merchant begins to explain his actions but after a few seconds, Dubinski unloads.
“Jessie, I’m gonna tell you right now, your f—— a– is going home or I’m going to beat the f—— p— out of you,” Dubinski is recorded saying.
“Yes, sir,” Merchant replied.
“I see your f—— a– again tonight I’m going to f—— split your f—— skull f—— with my flashlight,” Dubinski is heard saying. “Remember what I told you about the alligators? I’m gonna feed your a– to them. I’m not gonna arrest you. I’m gonna feed you to the f—— alligators. I’m taking you out on the Alley and I’m dumping your a–. So you’re gonna die.”
After 30 seconds, the expletives and threats fly again.
“I get another call on you tonight I’m gonna come in your house, I’m gonna kick your f—— door in. You think I’m bulls——-?” Dubinski asked.
“No. I’m just saying you’re gonna kick the door down,” Merchant said.
“I’m gonna kick the f—— door in and I’m gonna come in there and drag your f—— a– out of your house, beating the p— out of you,” Dubinski said.
“I said yes, sir,” Merchant replies.
“And then I’m gonna feed you to the f—— gators,” Dubinski told him.
Just seconds later the tirade continues.
“I want to feed you to the alligators,” Dubinski said.
“You’re kinda scaring me,” Merchant said.
“I hope I am,” Dubinski says. “If I see you again tonight, I swear to God — God be my witness you’re a dead man.”
“Yes, sir,” Merchant said.
“Get the f— out of here,” Dubinski said.
Merchant leaves and the audio stops recording. The Internal Affairs investigation performed by the Broward Sheriff’s Office reveals that Trooper Lawrence Petraglia called a supervisor because he believed Dubinski’s actions were “excessive.”
An investigator asked Petraglia, “Do you feel that (Dubinski’s) actions were professional?” Petraglia replied, “No, ma’am.”
The IA report indicates that both FHP troopers felt Merchant was “submissive” and “cooperative” during the incident.
After the IA investigation, the report shows Dubinski was given a written reprimand for conduct unbecoming an employee and returned to duty.
Investigators interviewed Jessie Merchant who said Dubinski’s comment about the alligators, “was just an expression but he had me scared.”
Merchant told investigators that Dubinski had him Baker Acted a few weeks before the incident that was caught on camera.
Dubinski also spoke to investigators. He said he spoke to Merchant in that manner “to scare him, to get him to go home.” When asked if he regretted anything he said Dubinski replied, “I probably wouldn’t have said some of the f words.”
And whether his conduct was professional Dubinski said, “In the eyes of the public, it’s probably not, but every situation is different, sometimes you have to be harsh with some people to get your point across to them that they understand and this is the way that Jessie understands and the problem was solved.”
Dubinski spoke to CBS 4’s Carey Codd over the phone Thursday and told him he was upset about the incident and said, “”I would never dream of tarnishing the image of BSO or myself.”
Dubinski said he realizes that “everybody’s gonna say it was improper but it was effective. I didn’t hurt him.”
He also said he is not appealing his punishment.
“I’m going to put it behind me and move on,” Dubinski said. “That’s how it goes.”