Officials say two Florida deputies have been suspended, and a sheriff has apologized after they wrongfully arrested a blind man last month after they mistook his cane for a gun.
According to an arrest report and body camera video, James Hodges, 61, of Lake City, was detained the morning of Oct. 31 and charged with resisting an officer without violence.
On Tuesday, Sheriff Mark Hunter identified the arresting deputies as Jayme Gohde and her supervisor, Sgt. Randy Harrison in a recorded statement on Facebook.
Hunter said an investigation was launched when Hodges requested body camera video of his arrest, leading to suspensions without pay for the deputies and Harrison’s demoting.
“As sheriff, I take full responsibility for this event and want to extend my sincere apologies to Mr. Hodges for the actions of my deputies,” Hunter said. “I do not feel these deputies’ actions were guided by ill intent, but rather by frustration and failure to rely on their training. Nevertheless, this conduct is unacceptable.”
As a result of the investigation, Hunter said Harrison is facing a seven-day suspension and won’t be eligible for “favorable action” for two years. Gohde faces a two-day suspension without pay.
On Wednesday, a sheriff’s office official clarified that Harrison wouldn’t qualify for raises or promotions for two years.
According to Hunter, they must complete remedial training on civil rights.
Hodges told the outlet it “Makes my chest swell up, not in a proud way, but in a very appreciative way.”
The arrest report stated that Gohde stopped Hodges when she saw him enter a crosswalk when a traffic control device said not to walk.
Police said it appeared to be carrying a “silver (chrome) pistol with a white grip in his back right pocket.”
The sheriff’s office produced a video, but NBC News is unsure what transpired before the events in it or whether it was manipulated.
In the four-minute body camera video, Gohde approaches Hodges and inquires about the contents in his pocket.
The video sounds like Hodges is saying it’s a navigating aid and tells Gohde, “What’s the problem? Are you a tyrant?”
In response, Gohde said that she is, in fact, and requested Hodges’ name and birthdate, which he declined to give her.