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Sergeant Charged With Assaulting Cop Who Tried To Stop Him From Escalating Suspect

Sunrise, FL – A Sunrise Police Department sergeant has been charged with multiple crimes in connection with his assault on a female officer during the arrest of a suspect last November.

Broward State Attorney Harold F. Pryor announced on July 21 that Sunrise Police Sergeant Christopher Pullease had been charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, tampering with evidence, assault on a law enforcement officer, and assault on a civilian male, according to a press release from the police department.

“The sergeant is accused of intentionally touching or striking the female police officer against her will, assaulting her by holding pepper spray up to her face, and assaulting the civilian male by holding pepper spray to his face,” the press release read.

If Sgt. Pullease is convicted on the charges, he faces up to five years in state prison for felony battery on a law enforcement officer, one year in prison for assaulting a law enforcement officer, and 60 days behind bars for assault on a civilian, according to the police department.

The sergeant could also face an additional five years in prison if he is convicted of tampering with evidence.

A probable cause affidavit alleged that Sgt. Pullease tried to “impair” his cellphone for his use in a criminal trial, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.

The incident occurred on Nov. 19, 2021 when Sunrise police officers responded to a call at a convenience store on Sunset Strip, WPLG reported.

Police said Jean Bernard Similien had battered several people and resisted arrest when officers took him into custody.

Bodycam video from the scene showed that Similien was handcuffed in the back of the police car and Sgt. Pullease was arguing with him through the open door.

The video showed that Sgt. Pullease pulled out his pepper spray and appeared to threaten the handcuffed suspect with it at one point but never deployed it.

“Once the suspect was inside the patrol vehicle, the sergeant approached and engaged in a verbal altercation with the suspect in a manner that I feel was inappropriate and unprofessional. This supervisor escalated the encounter instead of de-escalating an emotionally charged situation,” Sunrise Police Chief Anthony Rosa told reporters, according to WPLG.

That was when a Sunrise police officer who saw what was happening stepped in to de-escalate the situation between the sergeant and Similien.

The video showed the female officer grabbed the sergeant from behind by his gun belt and pulled him away from the police vehicle where the suspect was sitting.

The sergeant reacted quickly and turned to grab the officer by the throat and pushed her back up against a police SUV, bodycam showed.

The video showed Sgt. Pullease slammed a patrol vehicle door and turned and yelled at the officer who had intervened to de-escalate the situation.

Chief Rosa praised the officer’s intervention in the incident and said she showed good leadership during a tense situation, WPLG reported.

“So I’m very proud of this police officer,” the police chief told WSVN. “She took some definitive action. I can only imagine what she must be feeling. She’s a newer officer, and he’s a very senior sergeant.”

He said the 28-year-old officer had been a member of the Sunrise police force for about two-and-a-half years when the incident occurred.

Sgt. Pullease is a 46-year-old, 21-year veteran of the Sunrise Police Department, according to WSVN.

Officials said the sergeant has been on paid administrative leave “throughout the course of the investigation,” NBC News reported.

“Further determination with regards to the employment of Sergeant Pullease will be made in accordance with Florida State Statute 112.532, due process, and the collective bargaining agreement,” Sunrise police said in a statement.

Court records showed that Sgt. Pullease pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on July 21 and was released from the Broward County Jail on a $7,500 bond shortly thereafter, CNN reported.

His next hearing is scheduled for Sept. 8.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone

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