FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony addressed the Tamarac commission Wednesday over their concerns after three of the department’s deputies were seen in a video that went viral spraying a teen with pepper spray before forcing him to the ground and pushing his head into the pavement.

Tony told the commission that he would not jump ahead of the standard protocols for providing due process for the deputies involved.

“I’ve had a chance to witness a lot of different demands about how we need to respond immediately. I’ve responded immediately. We have already started an internal affairs investigation, we are working with the State Attorney ensuring that the criminal charges were suitable, to make sure that the deputies responded in compliance with our policies for the use of force, and so as we continue to work this investigation things may change as they did yesterday. The deputies who were involved went from being on restricted duty to being suspended now,” he said.

That development came less than two hours after Broward prosecutors announced that they would not file criminal charges against the teen who was pepper sprayed

That decision came hours after the teen, his mother, aunt, and attorney met with prosecutors.

Supporters of the teen say the video shows he did nothing wrong when he stopped to pick up a cellphone dropped by another teen who was arrested by BSO in Tamarac last week.

BSO’s official report says the teen bladed his body and clenched his fists prior to being pepper sprayed.



Tony said there may be other disciplinary action to come but that would be determined by the findings of their internal affairs investigation and not the court of public opinion.

“For everybody to say just go head out and execute the public opinion’s needs is not going to happen on my watch. I owe it to the deputies, whether they were wrong or not, to ensure that they get their due process elements that are articulated by law, not by an opinion, not by someone’s independent expectation,” he said.

Tony said it’s very easy for people to demand that the sheriff’s office fire the deputies. He said a lot of elected officials have jumped ahead and he thinks that’s inflammatory.

“I also have the responsibility to make sure that we don’t get 50 more kids out in the community picketing and rioting and feeling as though their chief law enforcement officer is not sympathetic to their needs, not sympathetic to their concerns,” he said.



Tony told the commission he was appointed sheriff for accountability, to take leadership and lead the department forward by being objective, fair, and holding all employees to the same standard.

“I’m not here to speak in terms of politics. The community will get their just desserts and so will the deputies,” he said.

Tony said he understands the situation is very intense and has an emotional side to it, but it’s important not to lose focus on justice for all.

The sheriff also said he disagreed with State Attorney’s decision to drop charges against teen before internal affairs finished their review.

Commissioner Mike Gelin asked his fellow commissioners support him in his request to have the deputies involved reassigned out of the city during the internal affairs investigation.

“I will tell you that establishes a very poor precedent because what happens here in Tamarac will echo through the rest of Broward County and for every time we have an incident, do we want our commissioners and mayors to say remove the deputies when we know there is a process in place whereas if I remove them, they may be terminated or subject to criminal charges. These are the considerations that I have to take into account,” said Tony.

In a 4-1 vote, the commission approved a letter that asked the City Manager to contact the sheriff’s office about reassigning the deputies involved.

Tony’s appearance took a contentious turn when Commissioner Marlon Bolton asked why a third deputy, seen holding a teenager charged with trespassing, isn’t being investigated.

“I will not stand here and be lectured to, about the law, the investigative practices, because no one up here has the experience that I have or my staff. So sir, you are out of line with the context of what you are demanding from me and I won’t accept it, said Tony.

School board member Lori Alhadeff told the commission the students need more to do after school in light of the incident.

School board member Dr. Rosalind Osgood said she was outraged over the incident and thinks the deputies should be charged with child abuse.

Late Wednesday, CBS News spoke with the mother of the teen in the video.

“I felt depressed and I was stunned because it’s my child and sometimes when you think its other people, only you think okay, but when you really feel the pain knowing that you carried that child and especially being a single mother raising a child like that and knowing you want the best, and looking at somebody who is supposed to protect your child hurt your child, it’s like I didn’t even eat yet just in depression and like whats going on,” said the boy’s mother.