We've all heard the story before. A citizen pulls up behind a cop sitting inside an idling car and blows the horn, perhaps not realizing he is a cop, resulting in either a citation an arrest or a beatdown.
But here we have a Florida sheriff's deputy who pulled up behind a pair of federal Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive agents who were parked in the middle of the road in an unmarked SUV and blew the horn before driving around them in his unmarked department SUV.
The federal agents then pulled him over and put a gun to his face while roughing him up, leaving him with injuries that kept him out of work for four months.
This is how Monroe County Sheriff's Sergeant Mark Jones described the incident to WSVN, which broke the story today.
“The guy put his gun within inches of my face. Cussing, using profanity the entire time. They threw me over the hood. They put my arm behind my back, and took my wrist up to the back of my neck. I knew the second they injured me.”
"They were on a mission. Their mission was ‘Teach this guy a lesson for honking his horn. We’re federal agents. How dare you?’ I went from being able to help people to being beat up by other law enforcement.”
"I have worked with the best men and women in law enforcement, and to see what just happened to me has changed me forever. OK, I see what good is, and I have seen what evil looks like behind a badge.”
Jones said the incident left him traumatized and skeptical of law enforcement. He wanted the agents, Luis Arias and Jason Wilson, charged but prosecutors refused so now he is suing.
The incident took place two years in the Florida Keys in the wake of Hurricane Irma. The federal agents and the deputy were all helping with the recovery effort when Jones pulled up behind the feds and blew the horn.
Jones said he kept telling them he was with the sheriff's office but they didn't seem to believe him. A witness who recorded part of the incident said the agents were overly aggressive towards Jones.
”If you ask me, personally, it was uncalled for, to the extent where he pushed the suspect or the other officer up against the vehicle, had his arm under control behind his back, shoved him down on the vehicle. At one point, guns were drawn.”
However, attorneys for the agents said he was deserving of the beatdown because they were not sure if he was a deputy, admitting that this is routine behavior although it is highly unconstitutional.
"In the aftermath of a Category 4 hurricane, the SAs were justified in drawing their weapons and placing hands on Jones until they could positively establish that he was a member of the MCSO," the ATF attorney wrote in a motion to dismiss.