St. Petersburg Officer resigns while being investigated for excessive force

Posted at 6:36 PM, Oct 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-17 18:36:40-04

A St. Petersburg Police Officer has resigned while his department is investigating him for use of excessive force.

Our I-Team first broke this story last May.

The accusations stem from the arrest of 2 Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Firefighters. The officer tazed one of them several times.

St. Pete's Police Chief Anthony Holloway considers the case closed because the officer resigned and officially retired before he could face a disciplinary board.

"You know I believe it's a pure confession of guilt.  He saw the writing on the wall.", says Attorney Jerry "T" Theophilopoulos.

At the Del Mar Bar in St. Pete last May, former officer Ruben Dejesus was trying to talk to Hillsborough firefighter Clint Walker who was a suspect in an assault he didn't commit.

Officers say Walker was combative and uncooperative.

Surveillance and cell phone video show officer Dejesus tazing Walker whose  hands were behind his back.

Walker says he was tazed 4 times, then kicked in the groin. Video shows Dejesus kicking him.

Dejesus is also seen grabbing Hillsborough firefighter Robert Ramirez by the face, and when Ramirez was escorted out he pushes him.

"These are thug gangland tactics and the citizens of St. Pete are fortunate that he's no longer in law enforcement." adds Theophilopoulos.

"All the way up to the kicking i didn't see anything wrong",  says St Pete Police Chief Anthony Holloway.

Chief Holloway says yes Walker had his hands behind his back, but the commands were to get down on his knees and put his hands behind his back.

In the internal affairs report, witnesses state Walker was yelling "f" bombs at the officer and wasn't following orders.

Walker was charged with assault on a law enforcement officer.

Ramirez was charged with obstruction.

Both firefighters charges were later dropped.

While internal affairs was investigating Dejesus he resigned and retired.

Reporter- "Did he resign voluntarily or was he forced to resign?"
Chief Holloway-  "He resigned voluntarily."

Walker says he was targeted by police because he was wearing his Outlaws Motorcycle Club shirt.

The Outlaws are defined as a "criminal gang" by the Department of Justice.

Theophilopoulos says despite his motorcycle club membership, the video speaks for itself.            

"Had he gone to a full internal affairs hearing they would've terminated him no doubt in my mind." says Theophilopoulos

Chief Holloway says he would've liked to question Dejesus about the kicking and face grabbing.

He says, "I appreciate you covering this and when there's a report of use of force we will investigate it to the fullest."

Theophilopoulos says they plan on suing the officer and possibly the bar.

Dejesus is now retired and getting a full pension.  He did not return our phone calls.

The assault in the bar where one man punched another man that night is still an "active investigation".

You can see our initial investigations here.