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Pinellas detention deputy arrested following inmate beating

1:19 AM, Feb 25, 2014   |    comments
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Largo, Florida - One detention deputy has been arrested and another has been suspended following an attack on an inmate.

Joel De Los Reyes is charged with simple battery for the incident that took place in August 2013.

In surveillance video from the jail, the 51-year-old guard appears to strike a juvenile inmate with his knee and elbow.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said Reyes, a 7-year veteran of the department, lied in his report because he was afraid of losing his job.

"It's flat out stupid to think that you're going to write a report saying this guy braced and tensed and all of these other things. And there're other lies in the report," said Sheriff Gualtieri. "If you take this report and you view the video and you match up this report and the video, it's a work of fiction."

The 15-year-old teenager, who was held on felony robbery charges, reported the incident to jail officials, who immediately began an investigation.

Internal Affairs found that not only did Reyes allegedly lie about what transpired, but so did fellow detention deputy Adrian Nenu.

A 25-year member or the department, Nenu said in his report that Reyes delivered a "guided custodial touch" to the inmate, but later admitted that the details were inaccurate.

As a result, he was placed on a 7-day suspension for failing to report the incident to his supervisors immediately and for misrepresenting the facts.

"We're not going to tolerate it and we're sending a clear message that everybody -- don't matter who you are -- needs to be treated appropriately and properly, and there is no place for striking people," said the sheriff during a Monday afternoon press conference at PCSO headquarters in Largo.

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