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Pinellas Department of Detention and Corrections Sergeant arrested for striking inmate

Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri held a press conference at 4 p.m. on Monday, November 29, 2021 regarding the arrest of a Sergeant in the Department of Detention and Corrections Division.

Sergeant Patrick Knight (hired 5/29/2018) resigned from his position while under investigation on November 22, 2021.

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The incident resulted in injuries to 41 year-old Terrell Johnson who was booked into the Pinellas County Jail on November 19, 2021.

According to Sheriff Gualtieri, Mr. Johnson was booked into the jail and moved to a holding area awaiting his initial court appearance.

At approximately 7:45 a.m., Mr. Johnson reportedly began to be disruptive by yelling. He was placed in handcuffs and placed in a single cell in the deputies attempt to de-escalate the situation At approximately 8 a.m., Mr. Johnson, whose hands were cuffed behind his back, began to kick the steel door creating a disruption in the jail. Sgt. Knight reportedly entered the cell and Mr. Johnson reported that his handcuffs were too tight. According to the Sheriff, Sgt Knight slammed him to the ground by shoving him with both hands against his chest. Mr. Johnson fell backwards striking the back of his head on a cement bunk in the cell.

Sgt. Knight then grabbed Mr. Johnson by the hair and both slapped and punched Mr. Johnson in the face. This caused a laceration over his left eye and resulted in a clump of hair ripped out of his scalp.

Sgt Knight told his supervisor about the use of force but left out many details including the punch and slap which resulted in injuries. He pushed a false narrative and stated that Mr. Johnson attempted to kick him and all the injuries were from being pushed away.

This incident happened in the presence of Corporal Jameson Jessie (hired in 8/7/2000). Cpl. Jessie initially made statements consistent with Sgt. Knight’s account of the incident. It was not until hours later that this Cpl. Jessie came forward with information disputing Sgt. Knight. He stated that Sgt. Knight was wrong and there was no lawful basis for his actions. He stated he was waiting to come forward as he was, “processing what to do.”

Sgt. Knight resigned under investigation on November 22, 2021. He was arrested at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, November 29, 2021 with charges of simple battery and official misconduct. He was released, less than an hour later, on a bond of $2500.

In a similar incident in 2019, Deputy James Moran kicked an inmate which forcing him to do pushups. Deputy Moran was fired and arrested on a charge of simple battery. Both the booking information and public records on the Clerk of the Court website regarding James Moran are now absent.


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