Former Hendry Sheriff’s Office deputy charged in brutal arrest caught on bodycam

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The United States Attorney’s Office has announced charges in a federal civil rights investigation of a Hendry County Sheriff’s Office deputy.

U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg spoke during a press conference at the Federal Courthouse in downtown Fort Myers Monday afternoon.

Watch full press conference below:

Handberg revealed that his office is looking into allegations of police brutality caught on bodyworn camera of a deputy who pushed a handcuffed suspect so hard he fell and was knocked unconscious.

“As captured on his body-worn camera, former deputy Williams placed the suspect in handcuffs and walked the man to the rear of his police vehicle to conduct a search,” Handberg explained. “Former deputy Williams’s supervisor was also on the scene, and the two had a conversation about the events leading to the suspect being placed in handcuffs.”

Handberg said the suspect, who was handcuffed, attempted to interject himself into the conversation to speak to the now-former deputy.

“In response to one of those times, former deputy Williams grabbed the man by the shoulders and threw him to the ground. Handcuffed, the victim was unable to brace himself for the fall,” Handberg said. “Former deputy Williams threw the man to the ground with sufficient force that he was rendered unconscious after his chin hit the asphalt.”

Handberg then talked about the moments directly following what happened after former deputy Williams threw the victim to the ground.

“As the body camera shows, former deputy Williams stood over the man as he lay motionless and yelled at him. Telling him that he was warned not to push against former deputy Williams,” said Handberg.

A thorough investigation had been conducted by the FBI and the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office, said the U.S. attorney.

The Hendry County Sheriff’s Office terminated Williams for multiple policy violations.

While a federal grand jury was in Fort Myers last week, they returned a criminal indictment against the former deputy.

“Charging him with two counts: one count, which is a civil rights violation, and a second count, which is a count for obstructing justice by falsifying a police report,” said Handberg. “He is facing up to 30 years in federal prison.”

Hendry Sheriff Steve Whidden also spoke at the conference and noted that the department has been using body cameras for several years now.

He also said that what he saw in the footage disturbed him.

“I tell you what, when I watched the body camera, I was shocked,” he said, “and I was appalled.”

Williams’ personnel file shows he has a checkered past in southwest Florida law enforcement.

The file reveals Williams worked for the Fort Myers Police Department from 2016 to 2021. Williams was initially terminated from FMPD back in 2020, after failing to report when he found drugs, needles and a sleeping girl in the back of a vehicle when making a stop in January 2020.

Less than a month later, the girl was killed when her mother blacked out behind the wheel while high.

After FMPD’s union fought on his behalf, Williams’ charges were sustained but he was allowed to keep his job. He later resigned en lieu of termination.

Williams’ time in Fort Myers is addressed in his personnel file with Hendry County. When asked his reason for leaving FMPD, Williams writes “irreconcilable differences.”

On the next page of his application, when asked if he had ever resigned or left a job following misconduct or unsatisfactory performance, Williams wrote: “resigned from FMPD after many internal affairs investigations were [illegible] over a period of time to hold me back from career advancement.”

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