PINELLAS COUNTY - The Pinellas County Sheriff's deputy who got demoted for being abrasive during traffic stops wants his old job back.
An internal investigation revealed Deputy John Hubbard's aggressive style and also showed that many of his DUI arrests lacked enough evidence to prosecute.
The sheriff's office reassigned Deputy Hubbard to the courthouse where he works as a bailiff, but he's not happy there. Hubbard plans to appeal the department's decision to an administrative judge next week.
ABC Action News obtained multiple dash cam videos that show Hubbard getting heated during several DUI investigations.
In one video he's heard shouting to a suspect: "I suggest you shut your mouth! I'll tell you what, sit down right there!"
In a phone interview Wednesday, Hubbard admitted his personality is not the friendliest, but he calls it effective.
Criminal defense attorney Joe Episcopo, who is not involved in the case, says the sole reason officers engage in that behavior is to get confessions.
"He's provoking someone, and that's not right," he said.
Another key reason the department demoted Hubbard relied too much on what's called the HGN test -- when officers look for sudden movement in your eyes -- to identify impaired drivers.
Because of that, the report says many of Hubbard's DUI arrests were reduced to lesser offenses or dropped all together.
"There are other eye conditions that can cause that," Episcopo said, adding that the test is rarely even brought up in court.
Hubbard would not go on camera, but over the phone he defended his tactics and his record, saying he had a 92-percent conviction rate, well above the average.
This is not Hubbard's first demotion. A few years ago, the department demoted him from sergeant to road patrol after receiving multiple complaints of inappropriate behavior leading to a hostile work environment.
Hubbard and his attorney will present all their evidence to an administrative judge on August 9 who will decide if he should be reinstated.
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