Jerry Theophilopoulos, the lawyer for a couple of Hillsborough County firefighters named Clint Walker and Robert Ramirez told “investigator” Jarrod Holbrook of television station WFTS yesterday that the men were filing complaints with the St. Petersburg Police Department, “the Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa, and” the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. He also told Holbrook, “We intend on pursuing a civil suit at the appropriate time.”
Walker is a patch holder with the American Outlaws Association.
Holbrook started the month of May with a pair of broadcast reports condemning local fire departments for employing members of brand name motorcycle clubs. Holbrook repeatedly called the clubs “criminal motorcycle gangs,” quoted a couple of local law enforcement sources who agreed that the clubs were mafias on motorcycles, and confronted local officials with demands that they do something about it.
Two days after Holbrook’s first report, Walker was attacked in a St, Petersburg bar called the Del Mar Gastro Lounge by a local cop named Ruben DeJesus (photo above). Walker’s apparent crime was wearing an Outlaws tee shirt. DeJesus Tased Walker four times, handcuffed him and then kicked him in the groin. Dejesus then lied about the incident, in writing, and charged Walker with felony battery on a law enforcement officer.
Ramirez, who is not a member of any motorcycle club, tried to stop the assault on Walker by standing between Walker and DeJesus and was arrested for obstructing a police officer. After he was handcuffed, DeJesus shook Ramirez face as one might shake a bad dog’s and shoved him.
DeJesus is currently on administrative leave while his actions are investigated by the department’s Internal Affairs Division. This will be the third time DeJesus has been investigated by Internal Affairs in the last five years.
In January 2011, DeJesus was one of several officers who shot and killed a suspect named Hydra Lacy, Jr. Lacy had shot two other police officers while barricaded in an attic. DeJesus was subsequently awarded a Medal of Valor by his department.
Eight months later, DeJesus shot and killed an 18-year-old named Jared Speakman. Speakman was sitting on a bench with another young man, drinking alcohol in a closed city park. Three policemen approached the pair. Speakman had a blood alcohol level of .071 and was holding a small dog on his lap. Speakman turned to hand his dog to the other man. DeJesus interpreted that action as resistance and would later claim that he saw a .22 caliber revolver in Speakman’s waistband. Allegedly, a struggle for the gun, which the two other officers had not seen, ensued and Speakman was shot four times. After he was dead, a .22 caliber revolver was indeed found in Speakman’s waistband. Speakman’s death was later ruled justifiable homicide.
After officers in internal affairs complete their investigation of DeJesus conduct toward Walker and Ramirez, his “chain of command” will review “the case and determine whether” DeJesus “has violated any city or department policies” and decide if he should be disciplined.
St. Petersburg also has a “Civilian Police Review Committee,” which “is a volunteer advisory body whose purpose is to review citizen-generated complaint cases and cases that have received a high level of community interest, which have been filed against St. Petersburg police officers. The CPRC role is to determine whether Police Department policies and procedures were followed by the accused police officer and the investigating police officers. These cases represent administrative investigations and are not criminal in nature.”