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BSO Sheriff Gregory Tony: Veteran Deputy Ronald Thurston Fired For 'Egregious Actions' In Excessive Use Of Force Case

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - A veteran Broward Sheriff's Office deputy who had been under investigation for use of excessive force has been fired, BSO Sheriff Gregory Tony announced Friday.

"I have said time and time again that when deputies do the right thing, I will have their back and support them. Conversely, when deputies are accused of stepping out of line, they will be investigated and, when necessary, held accountable for their actions," Sheriff Tony said.

On Friday, CBS4 News obtained a video of the arrest which led to the eventual firing of Ronald Thurston, who had 23 years with the department.

Here is what Sheriff Tony said led to Thurston's termination:

"The Broward Sheriff's Office will not tolerate any excessive use of force. In this case, a veteran deputy, Ronald Thurston, was called to a situation involving a man in North Lauderdale and made a series of choices that escalated the call and led to his firing."

The sheriff said that on April 1st of 2020, Thurston responded to the 100 block of San Remo Boulevard as part of a follow-up investigation into a prior crime. "After making contact with the individual, the man initially refused to cooperate with Thurston's lawful commands and attempted to flee."

"After Thurston pulled his gun and threatened to shoot him, the man complied and immediately got on the ground face down. At that point, Thurston had every opportunity to de-escalate the situation, yet he chose not to. Thurston kept his knee on the man's neck, even after he expressed discomfort and asked Thurston to remove his knee. After other deputies arrived to assist, the man was secured, and a gun was removed from his pocket during the pat-down search."

"With back-up deputies on scene, the man handcuffed, and the situation under control, Thurston struck him with his forearm, slamming the man's head into a BSO vehicle. Once Internal Affairs learned of the use of force incident, BSO Public Corruption Unit detectives immediately began investigating."

Sheriff Tony said investigators turned over their case findings to the Broward State Attorney's Office on Sept. 22, 2020, for possible criminal charges, but the State Attorney's Office declined to file criminal charges against Thurston.

"It's clear from the video and the entire investigation conducted by BSO, Thurston acted in a manner outside the bounds of proper and effective law enforcement and should be terminated," added Tony.

"His actions were egregious and do not reflect our agency's training and de-escalation tactics. His actions show that he possesses neither the temperament nor the decision-making ability to wear a badge and carry a gun."

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