New video shows hostage situation inside Orange County jail

Orlando Police, Orange County deputies honored nearly 1 year after hostage situation at jail

OPD body camera video from hostage situation at the Orange County jail

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The Chief of the Orange County Corrections Department is thanking the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the Orlando Police Department for helping to bring a hostage situation at the county jail to a peaceful resolution nearly one year ago.

Investigators said Eric Stanley snuck a gun into the Orange County Jail and took four hostages after he was arrested on March 20, 2020.

Eric Jefferson Stanley Jr. (Orange County Sheriff's Office)

The Orlando Police Department also released new body-worn camera video Friday of the hostage situation. In the video, investigators said you can see Stanley point a gun at one of the hostages while he holds an arm around the person’s neck. Later you hear gunshots and see law enforcement officers rushing in to help. Then, the video cuts to Stanley back in custody. In the video, Stanley can be heard saying “I have PTSD. I’m sorry man.”

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Orange County Corrections Department Chief Louis Quiñones Jr. said everything from calling for help to the SWAT team responding to the situation and getting Stanley back in custody was a group effort between law enforcement agencies.

“In this instance, a positive outcome didn’t just occur by accident. No, it was the direct result of effective collaboration by skilled deputies, police officers and correctional staff who are brave, honorable, dedicated to upholding their solemn oath to support, protect and defend,” Quiñones said.

To honor their bravery Quiñones held two separate events Friday. One honored the Orlando Police Department and the other honored the response from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. Both departments were presented with an award “for providing highly capable and commendable assistance.”

At the ceremonies, two officers who were taken hostage were thanked individually for their role in bringing the situation to an end. Orange County Sheriff John Mina gave special recognition to Deputy Jeffery James-Potts.

Mina said the deputy “was taken hostage and remained cool and calm in probably one of the most harrowing situations any law enforcement or civilian could ever face and there is no doubt in my mind his actions not only saved his own life but saved the lives of corrections officers and others there alike.”

Changes are now being made to make sure something like this never happens again.

Quinones has since banned plastic handcuffs inside the jail and mandated that jail officers replace any flex-cuffs with metal handcuffs.

All arrestees are now immediately put through the Secure Pass body scanning machine and scanned from both the front and back.

Arrestees are now patted down by either a female or male officer depending on the arrestee’s gender, even though an arrestee brought into the jail is supposed to have been already patted down.

An extra officer has been added to the intake area along with an additional surveillance camera. Officers have also been given Tasers.

And supervisors now monitor the intake area to limit the amount of arrestees entering the area. Quinones said all supervisors have undergone racial equity training and the rest of the jail staff will get the same training. All staff members have also undergone cultural diversity training and chokeholds are no longer allowed unless the situation is life-threatening.

Quinones said the changes are getting results: during a pat-down, officers recently discovered another small loaded handgun inside an arrestee’s waistband. That arrestee was brought in by an FHP trooper, according to a jail spokesperson.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said after the hostage standoff last year, it did a thorough investigation and suspended the three deputies involved in arresting Stanley. All three were suspended for 40 hours and re-trained in proper search techniques.

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About the Author:

Tiffany produces the 4:30 p.m. newscast and has been with News 6 since January 2019. She also produces Florida's Fourth Estate podcast. She graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in radio/TV. Tiffany has lived in Central Florida since 2004 and has covered the Casey Anthony and George Zimmerman trials and several hurricanes.