OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – An Osceola County deputy has been suspended following an internal criminal investigation into his interaction with a patient at AdventHealth hospital, who was also a suspect at the time.
Sheriff Marcos Lopez held a news conference Tuesday regarding Deputy Dirio Sinclair’s actions with a suspect who was handcuffed to a hospital bed in May. The sheriff said he plans to release body camera video that shows Sinclair hitting the suspect after a verbal argument.
Lopez said he was notified about the incident, which was witnessed by another deputy as well as hospital staff, on May 6 and relieved Sinclair of his gun and badge and placed him on leave.
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The man, who the sheriff called a victim and a suspect, was arrested for violating a domestic violence injunction. It’s unclear why he was in the hospital but the sheriff said the incident appears to be a “mental health crisis” for both the victim and the deputy involved.
Lopez said the altercation began when Sinclair went in to talk to the patient. The man began to stand up and pull on the rail he was handcuffed to and the deputy was ordering him to lie back down, according to the sheriff.
“They begin to argue and then they’re kind of at the same level, just not normal behavior,” Lopez said. “Our deputies, you know, also experience mental health crisis, and this could be a good example of something that may have gotten out of hand and went in that direction.”
A female deputy who was outside the hospital room can be seen in the body camera video stepping in to intervene.
“She actually intervenes and she makes the deputy leave the room, and she took control of the situation,” Lopez said, adding that is part of their training.
Following an internal review, Lopez said investigators found Sinclair committed a battery and submitted their findings to the State Attorney Monique Worrell’s office to determine if he will face formal charges.
Sinclair has been with the agency for more than two years and had no prior disciplinary history, according to the sheriff.
SAO Director of Public Affairs Keisha Mulfort said the sheriff reached out to the state attorney regarding the case but declined to comment on the pending investigation.
This latest internal investigation case comes after seven Osceola County deputies were recently suspended and one was fired for making sexually and racially insensitive comments on an internal messaging system.