Florida Sheriff's Deputy Fired after Video Shows Him Repeatedly Punching Handcuffed Teen

Broward County, Florida, Sheriff Gregory Tony confirmed that his department had terminated the employment of deputy Kevin Fanti. The deputy had been caught on surveillance video delivering body and head blows to a 19-year-old waiting in line to be booked into a Fort Lauderdale jail.

Video from the June 25 incident shows the teen, identified by the sheriff's department as Kyle Paul, kick paperwork toward the deputy, who then picks up the documents and slams them against Paul's chest.

The footage, which doesn't contain audio, shows the two exchange words before Fanti, 26, cocks back his fist and push Paul in the face. He then delivers several more blows to the detainee, who promptly curls up and falls to the ground.

Fanti had been with the Broward County Sheriff's Office since 2018. At the time of the incident, he was still in his probationary period as a deputy sheriff.

Sheriff Tony said he was made aware of the video on Thursday—several weeks after the altercation—and made the decision to fire Fanti within hours.

The case is now being forwarded to the Broward State Attorney's office for review. Fanti was not arrested and it's unclear if he will face charges.

The Sheriff's Office made the unprompted release of the surveillance video in an attempt to further department transparency—part of a broader effort to change a long-standing county culture of obfuscation and questionable use-of-force incidences among deputies.

Sheriff Gregory Tony took quick and decisive action upon learning about a deputy’s mistreatment of an arrestee. Sheriff Tony holds the men and women of the Broward Sheriff’s Office to the highest standard and has zero tolerance for this behavior. “We’re changing the culture that existed at BSO. Deputy Fanti has failed to meet the standards that I have for all my deputies, and so he’s been terminated. He will not have any opportunity to be interviewed by investigators, because he didn’t deserve it.” --Sheriff Gregory Tony

Posted by Broward Sheriff's Office on Friday, July 12, 2019

"Deputy Fanti has failed to meet the standards that I have for all my deputies, and so he's been terminated," Tony said. "He will not have any opportunity to be interviewed by investigators, because he didn't deserve it."

"The expectations and standards that are here in this organization now are at the highest level," Tony claimed.

Tony replaced embattled Sheriff Scott Israel earlier this year as a result of the agency's oft-criticized response in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on February 14, 2018, where 17 people were killed. An armed deputy, on site as a school resource officer, did not enter the building when the shooting began, but remained outside the school.

Since taking over for Israel, Tony has moved forward with a campaign about improving community relations.

On Tuesday, a jury convicted Deputy Justin Lambert of punching a man and falsifying a police report during a 2014 arrest. On June 28, Deputy Jorge Sobrino was charged with misdemeanor battery after a worn body camera recorded him assaulting a man who was handcuffed to a hospital bed.

Several other incidences, as reported by the Sun Sentinel, have cast a pall over the department.

Broward County
Officials in Broward County, Florida on Friday announced the firing of a sheriff's deputy who was caught on video repeatedly punching a handcuffed teenager. (July 13, 2019) Screengrab/YouTube/Broward County Sheriff's Office