The Pasco County Sheriff released body camera footage captured by one of their deputies as he tried to arrest an accused shoplifter.
The incident happened last Friday outside of Bealls along Bruce B Downs Blvd in Wesley Chapel. Sheriff Chris Nocco said he reviewed the body cam footage, which is more than 25 minutes. He said his deputy was justified in how he handled the situation. According to authorities, Tiffany Tebo tried to leave the store without paying for shoes.
Sheriff Nocco said a witness provided their department with clips. One of the clips is 30 seconds. There was a second clip that was a 1:28.
"That citizen tried to put that out here and say it's police brutality, but when you see the entire video, which we have because of (a) body worn camera, it protects our agency and it protects the deputy. It shows he (was) justified in his actions," Sheriff Nocco said.
Sheriff Nocco said they have received praises from citizens as well as criticism about the incident locally, nationally, and internationally.
"Then she tries to resist. He puts her hands on her. She lunges forward. He lunges because of their body weights they ended up going into a pillar that's when I believe the injury occurred," Sheriff Nocco said.
The sheriff said he stands behind his deputy, which is why he released the body cam video online for everyone to see. He said his deputy did everything he was trained to do even pulling out his taser, but not using it. The deputy called for medical help.
"If this was not justified yes there would….this would have gone to an internal affairs investigation. We would have investigated this and would've disciplined if they had done things improperly," Sheriff Nocco said.
Tebo was charged with theft petit retail and resist officer, obstructing without violence. ABC Action News tried to get a comment from Tebo. Her family said "no comment". ABC Action News reached out to the person who recorded the witness video, but we have not heard back from that person.
Sheriff Nocco said more than 400 of his deputies use body cameras and they have been using them for about a year.