WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – A Winter Haven police officer was arrested on a battery charge for breaking a handcuffed suspect's femur as he was putting him into a holding area, department officials said in a news release on Tuesday.
The incident happened June 23 after Officer Brandon Boone arrested Ronal Augustin, 35, during a traffic stop in which marijuana was found in the vehicle, police said.
Boone took Augustin to a holding area at the police department then placed him in the back of his patrol car to take him to the Polk County Jail, but moments after leaving the department, a supervisor told Boone to return to assist with the transport of another arrestee, according to authorities.
Officials said Augustin, who was also on felony probation, became irritated about having to return to the department and began calling Boone names, telling him, "This is (expletive). You don't have to do this. (Expletive) you and (expletive) your kids, I hope they die."
Video from inside the holding area shows Boone escorting Augustin, who is handcuffed. Augustin appears to turn to say something to Boone, who then applies a knee strike to Augustin, police said. Boone leads Augustin into a cell and two other officers follow.
Police said while they were in the cell, a struggle ensued and Boone ended up restraining Augustin on the floor. At some point during the incident, a loud pop was heard and Augustin yelled that his leg was broken, according to the news release.
Augustin was taken to a hospital to be treated for a broken femur.
Chief Charlie Bird said he reviewed the footage and found it concerning that the knee strike appeared to be unprovoked and called for the Polk County Sheriff's Office to conduct an independent investigation.
Boone was immediately placed on suspension without pay. He was arrested on a felony battery charge Tuesday.
"Our officers provide excellence in conducting a professional job every day," Bird said. "I cannot let one person tarnish the good work of the men and women in this organization. If we don't do what's right here, we are no better than the criminals."