New Port Richey, FL – Bodycam footage captured the moment when a seemingly cooperative suspect suddenly attacked a Pasco County sheriff’s deputy, knocking him to the ground and punching him repeatedly (video below).
The incident occurred outside an Auto Zone store on the night of June 17, after the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) received a report of an “unwanted guest” at the business, the department said in the video release.
According to the Auto Zone staff, a male repeatedly walked in and out of the store for an unknown reason, prompting their call to police.
Bodycam footage showed one of the deputies as he made contact with the suspicious male outside the business.
After the deputy explained the nature of the call, the suspect, later identified as 30-year-old Alexander Jerome Ealy, told him that he was at the store with his family.
Ealy motioned towards a group of people working on a nearby vehicle, and proceeded to head in their direction as the deputy followed behind him, the video showed.
When they reached the group, the deputy asked them if they were “familiar” with Ealy, at which point they indicated the did not know him.
“Alex, you said this is your family,” the deputy said.
He politely asked Ealy to move away from the group so he could chat with him further, the video showed.
Ealy was unable to produce any identification and mumbled about his family when the deputy asked him where he lives.
A moment later, the suspect suddenly dropped to his knees and put his hands behind his head.
“What are you doing?” the deputy asked him.
Ealy asked him if was under arrest, but the deputy explained that he was only trying to make sure he was okay.
“You’re not under arrest,” he reiterated. “You can stand back up. There’s no reason to do that.”
But Ealy remained on his knees with his hands behind his head, the video showed.
As they spoke further, the suspect finally stood back up, but refused to provide the deputy with his address.
“Can I give you a ride somewhere?” the deputy asked.
Ealy declined his offer.
The deputy later explained that the manager asked for Ealy to leave the store for the night.
“Yeah, I’m good with that,” the suspect responded.
At some point following the amicable conversation, Ealy appeared to start walking away from the deputy before he abruptly pivoted and lunged at him, the video showed.
The suspect shoved the deputy to the pavement outside the store and punched him repeatedly until additional deputies and the Auto Zone manager intervened, the PCSO said.
One of the deputies deployed his Taser, at which point they were able to take Ealy into custody.
The PCSO said the video was being released in order to “highlight the good work and professionalism of our deputies and to also thank our community for their continued support and their willingness to assist if the need arises.”
The sheriff’s office also praised the Auto Zone manager for racing to help the deputy who was being assaulted.
Ealy was arrested on charges of obstructing a police officer and resisting arrest, the Miami Herald reported.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. Warning – Graphic Content: