Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer Arrested for Beating Handcuffed Teenager Had A Violent History

A Jacksonville sheriff’s officer arrested in the beating of a handcuffed teenager used violence against an overdose victim and a shopper he encountered at a Walmart, according to reports filed by the officer, Tim James.

James was not disciplined in connection with either incident, according to his personnel file. He was arrested in June after 17-year-old Elias Campos was repeatedly punched in the face while shackled in the backseat of James’ patrol car. James has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor battery charges.

In response to a records request, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office released four use-of-force reports spanning March 2015 to June 2017 that detail violent arrests. It’s unclear whether those reports amount to a full accounting of James’ use-of-force incidents during that time.

The reports detail the officer’s on-duty response to a domestic incident as well as a violent arrest he made while working an off-duty security job at UF Health Jacksonville. Prosecutors have dropped the charges against the young man arrested by James in that case, 21-year-old Daniel Nyman.

Phil Voegelsang, the police union attorney representing James, said the reports speak for themselves in regards to why James had to use force.

“Being a police officer is a dangerous job,” Vogelsang said. “Officers deal with thousands of people a year, and sometimes when arresting criminals force needs to be used to carry out the arrest.”

The Sheriff’s Office investigated James 11 times before his June arrest. One of those led to a sustained complaint for lying in the context of a material investigation. His harshest punishment was an 10-day suspension for that offense.

The police agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the just-released reports.

In April, James’ patrol car struck and killed a pedestrian, Blane Land, on University Boulevard. The Sheriff’s Office initially described Land as potentially homeless and suicidal, but he was neither. The agency never corrected the record after its preliminary news conference, which was held before detectives knocked on the door of the address listed on Land’s driver’s license.

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