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Pinellas Co. inmate kicked in ribs after trying to give bird a cookie, deputy charged

Posted: 4:01 PM, Apr 23, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-23 18:07:21-04
Deputy Moran Termination_Battery.jpg

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. -- Three inmates on kitchen work duty were unloading trash in a dumpster.

One of them saw a bird and tossed a cookie its way. But as you can see on surveillance video from the Pinellas County jail, one of the deputies supervising didn’t like it.

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said Deputy James Moran ordered the inmate to do 50 push ups as punishment.

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“Nobody. Nobody deserves to be told to get on the ground and give me 50, using profanity for simply giving a cookie that’s going into the trash to a bird. It’s one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen," said Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.

The Jan. 11 incident didn’t stop there.

Investigators say when the inmate got tired and stopped doing the push ups, Deputy Moran kicked him in the ribs.

The inmate was serving time for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

He didn’t report what happened until he was released last week.

After looking at the video, the Sheriff’s Office fired Moran and arrested him on battery charges.

“I’m kind of speechless on it because it’s so ridiculous. It is so outside the bounds. It is such misconduct. Anybody and everybody out there knows we don’t treat people this way," Gualtieri said.

Deputies are also investigating the other deputy who was there for not taking action.

As for the inmate, he’s already back in jail on car burglary charges.