Video shows Pasco deputy arrest shoplifting suspect
WESLEY CHAPEL (FOX 13) - Some say the video of a woman being arrested by a Pasco County sheriff's deputy is alarming, but the sheriff's office said it's a good example of body cameras put to good use.
The video shows a woman being arrested under suspicion of shoplifting. Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco says that video proves everything was done by the book. He also said, anyone concerned about the woman should watch the entire video.
*WARNING - SOME MAY FIND THIS VIDEO GRAPHIC. VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED*
The video shows an officer approach a woman suspected of shoplifting from Bellas department store in Wesley Chapel.
After the deputy approaches her, things escalate quickly.
Woman: "I'm not going to do anything!"
Deputy: "Put your hands behind your (expletive) back! Get on the ground!"
Woman: "Please, you can have the shoes!"
Tiffany Tebo, 29, was confronted by the deputy and store security for allegedly stealing a pair of shoes. As he tried to arrest her, Tebo twisted her arm to avoid being handcuffed.
During the tussle, she swung into the building's cement wall, cutting open her head.
Deputy: "I'm about to Tase you."
Woman: "Please, no!"
Deputy: "Get on the ground, turn around!"
Woman: "Just take the shoes and let me go!"
Deputy: "Get on the ground, on your back, now!"
Sheriff Nocco explained his office's Use of Force policy, saying the woman's actions were classified as "actively resisting," justifying the deputy's actions.
"Had she just cooperated and not resisted, he would have wrote her a citation and she would have been let go at that moment," Sheriff Nocco said.
Nocco said everything was handled by the book.
"When we go on scene and someone needs to be arrested, we have to make that arrest," he explained.
Under the department's Use of Force guidelines, severity of the crime and size of the suspect must be considered. Shoplifting is a misdemeanor and Tebo is 5'6'' and 125 pounds, according to the officer's report.
"A lot of citizens are complaining to us, because they see this and they think, 'well, he's a big guy, she's a little girl, and how can this guy use this type of force?'" Nocco said.
However, the sheriff says his deputy showed restraint by choosing to use his words, instead of getting more physical.
"If the deputy had jumped on her, that would have been a full-on fight on the ground. He would have been on the ground, however, faced with a Taser, suspects are more likely to comply," Nocco explained.
The deputy later grabbed a towel to help Tebo with her wounds.
She was charged with resisting arrest and theft, and taken to a hospital for treatment.
"Not everything we do is clean. Not everything we do is pretty. When you're wrestling somebody, it's not an easy thing to do, but that's the reality of what we do, because we're out there protecting our citizens," Nocco said.
This isn't the first time Tiffany Tebo has been in handcuffs. Reports dating back to 2009 show she's been arrested for drug possession, domestic battery and petit theft.
Sheriff Nocco said he's grateful all of his deputies wear body cameras, because, in this case, instead of a month-long internal investigation, they were able to watch the video and clear the deputy of any wrongdoing.