Pinellas deputy fired, charged with excessive force and falsifying police report

Posted at 3:24 PM, Nov 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-18 23:18:42-05

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri fired a deputy Friday afternoon for using excessive force against a woman, during a traffic stop.

The traffic stop happened March 25 at 9:40 p.m. Deputy Wayne Wagner stopped a truck at the Mobile gas station along 4th Street North in St. Petersburg.

Sheriff Gualtieri said his deputy lied about what happened during that traffic stop that lead to a woman being charged with battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting an officer with violence.

"If you don't tell the truth, you don't work here. It's that simple," Sheriff Gualtieri said.

Based on surveillance video, there is no question in Sheriff Gualtieri's mind that Deputy Wagner did not tell the truth about what happened that night after Paige Taylor stepped out of the truck.

"Look at them clearly and look at her actions and his actions. He claims, at this point, that he was shoved by her," Sheriff Gualtieri said.

The sheriff said the deputy lied on the report even charged Taylor with battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting an officer with violence.

"It was clear to anybody watching it that there was no contact (and) that there was no push. There was no shove. There wasn't anything," Sheriff Gualtieri said.

The charges were dropped against Taylor. Her attorney told ABC Action News the surveillance video was critical in this case and said she hopes this does not happen to anyone else.

During Wagner's time with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, he was praised for his work with the DUI Unit. He was also disciplined, suspended for violating the department's pursuit policy. Then today, he was fired for use of excessive force and falsifying a police report.

"In any career field, in any profession, you're going to have the bottom 1 percent and the bottom 1 percent do things wrong and sometimes that bottom 1 percent cover up and lie about it," Sheriff Gualtieri said.