VIDEO: Deputy Forced to Resign After Punching Inmate Who Assaulted Him

An inmate attacked Flagler County Sheriff's Office Detention Deputy Jarred Tazewell with a walker in April.

Bunnell, FL – A Flagler County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) detention deputy has resigned amid allegations that he used excessive force during an altercation with an inmate who threw a walker at him (video below).

The incident occurred at the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility in April, KITV reported.

Security footage showed FCSO Detention Deputy Jarred Tazewell, 34, as he was retrieving 54-year-old Mark Duncanson from a confinement cell, according to Flagler Live.

The detention deputy later told investigators that, as he was conversing with Duncanson, the inmate told him about a dream he had, Flagler Live reported.

“I want to go to my new world and I’ll take whoever I can with me,” he said, according to Deputy Tazewell. “I’ll take you with me.”

Duncanson suddenly walked out and threw his walker at the deputy, hitting him in the chest, the video showed.

The startled deputy immediately shoved his attacker away with his left hand, then nearly immediately punched him in the face with his right fist.

The blow knocked the suspect backwards onto the floor of the cell.

Deputy Tazewell later wrote in his report that Duncanson had a pen in his hand at the time of the attack, and that struck the inmate in self-defense, Flagler Live reported.

Investigators confirmed that the inmate had a pen in his possession.

Deputy Tazewell, a three-year veteran of the FCSO, resigned from his position on Sept. 24 amid an internal investigation into his use of force during the altercation, Flagler Live reported.

FCSO Detective Rich Petkovsek, who conducted the criminal investigation, determined that there was not probable cause to charge Deputy Tazewell with a crime.

“Deputy Tazewell’s response was an immediate single reaction to a felony battery being committed against himself,” Det. Petkovsek wrote, according to Flagler Live. “After Deputy Tazewell struck inmate Duncanson, he immediately went to a de-escalation attempt in restraining inmate Duncanson on the ground until additional Deputies could arrive. Once relieved, Deputy Tazewell removed himself from the situation so he could emotionally calm down.”

The only person who deserved to be charged with felony battery, according to the detective, was Duncanson.

Although the State Attorney’s Office refused to file charges against the deputy, the FCSO ultimately concluded that Deputy Tazewell “violated agency policies by using excessive force,” the department said in a statement, according to Flagler Live.

“As the [internal] investigation was being completed, Tazewell through his [union] representative resigned his position with the Sheriff’s Office,” the statement read. “While discipline could not be issued because of this resignation, FCSO will be sending the case to the Florida Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission (CJSTC) for review. CJSTC has the authority to issue discipline up to revoking Tazewell’s Florida Correctional Officer certification.”

Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said that investigators determined Duncanson’s behavior did not warrant the type or level of force Deputy Tazewell used, and that the department likely would have terminated his employment had he not already resigned, Flagler Live reported.

“Often, inmates will ‘bait’ Detention Deputies and I expect Deputies to keep their cool and not react inappropriately,” Sheriff Staly added, noting that detention deputies’ use of “defensive tactics” has decreased over 38 percent since he took office.

“Tazewell’s action is not a reflection of the many men and women that serve professionally at the jail keeping us safe from some of the worst people in society,” the sheriff said.

Duncanson was initially arrested in January on a trespassing charge, but picked up a new felony offense at the jail for obstructing or destroying a fire sprinkler, Flagler Live reported.

In March, a physician noted that Duncanson had a history of mental illness, including schizophrenia, and that he was prescribed multiple psychotropic medications.

“He has been observed talking to himself in his cell and spreading his feces on the cell walls,” the physician’s report read.

Later that month, a judge determined that Duncanson was incompetent to stand trial, and committed him to a psychiatric hospital for treatment.

Prosecutors declined to pursue battery charges against Duncanson for the attack on the now-former deputy since he had already been declared mentally incompetent, according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal.

A week after the attack on Deputy Tazewell, Duncanson was transferred to the psychiatric hospital, Flagler Live reported.

He remained there until Aug. 29, when he was returned to the detention facility.

A judge subsequently determined that he was competent to proceed to trial.

You can watch security footage of the detention deputy’s altercation with Duncanson in the video below:

Comments (108)
No. 1-33
Jim H. - Virginia US
Jim H. - Virginia US

Sheriff should have refused his resignation and promised to have his back. That was appropriate self defense.

LEOs can't be expected to be psychologists or take a physical assault without responding with overwhelming force. They need to go home every night, so they can come back tomorrow and do the things that my family and I are so grateful for.

Sad.

Smaugmik
Smaugmik

100% justified. Dude attacked him with a weapon, then proceeded to 'square-up' on the deputy. When are we going to stop mollycoddling criminals?

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

where was this pen that investigators found? He's holding nothing aside from his walker in the video.

Just-My-Thoughts
Just-My-Thoughts

Sorry for the Deputy. Some day there will be no law enforcement and the jails and cities will implode. We only have the dem's to thank for that. Unfortunately something has to happen to the lawmakers for them to take these assaults on LEO's serious. Oh wait...........most of them have their own security details. This deputy did nothing wrong.

flybynight
flybynight

Hopefully he can get a job in LE where he is appreciated and backed up.

Yonahlem
Yonahlem

Absolutely disgusting what today’s society is doing to LEO's, this Deputy was well within his rights to defend himself.

walkintall
walkintall

I guess I missed the "excessive force" part.

Lawman777
Lawman777

After reviewing the video I think the officer used excessive force. It was just not necessary to punch the old man even if he did deserve it. Even a small push to the mid section would have cause the old man to fall backwards and probably wack his head on the cement. The old man was just not a valid challenge or threat. Had he attempted to stab the officer with a pen then a punch would be appropriate. But this did not happen. I do not think the officer should resign or be fired. Management is ultimately responsible for this incident due to poor staff training and insufficient policy and practices. Two staff should be present when they opened the cell door of a segregated inmate or if one staff member, then incorporate a 'through the bars' handcuffing policy before you open the cell door. These practices are common in most jails. Volatile inmates are in seg for a reason. They cannot cope or be trusted in the general population.

tankbrat
tankbrat

When did 54 years old become an "old" man? I guess "old" men cant hurt you.

tfort
tfort

Why would an innocent man resign? There has to be more to the story than they are tellin the citizens.

FilthyRich1999
FilthyRich1999

Don't feed the troll Hi_estComnDenomn. Why respond to his ignorant and juvenile statements. He just does it to piss you off. Stop entertaining this fool.

mike2482
mike2482

Every deputy should seek employment elsewhere and resign as soon as possible.

Bobholly79
Bobholly79

Wtf??

Deputy loses job over one punch????

Keep empowering the criminals!!

Maybe the Sheriff should walk the halls??

Another officer puts on the bars or stars and looses common sense! I swear they put uranium chips in the bars and stars!!

NH.Corr
NH.Corr

You can come to NH man we will take you. Self defense all day long what are you to do when attacked by a felon? How can any of you work for that department now? God help all of you involved in a use of force incident its clear its you against the inmates and administration!! Good luck to you all....

Raymelson
Raymelson

I see nothing wrong with how the officer reacted when did a criminal get more rights than an officer I would have did the same thing it's called self defense

bryantrent
bryantrent

The in mate should be charged

snafu
snafu

Perfectly valid response. The deputy should not have been fired.

gfc1963
gfc1963

NOthing wrong with that. Hope the Deputy sues and gets his job back.

Storm45
Storm45

From an outsider's viewpoint, the force was more than necessary but understandable. An ass chewing and done. That sheriff sure isn't anyone I would want to have my back.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

FCSO should not be the one to decide about whether criminal charges are brought in this case.

Stanracer
Stanracer

Apparently political correctness is at work here.

BlueLM101
BlueLM101

The deputy just had a walker thrown at him. What is the correct response? If this was on the street then that response would be considered and looked at differently. What that inmate has done is a Felony Assault on an Officer. I may have pulled my taser and if this man would have kept advancing on me, then I may have deployed it or used one of many body tackling maneuvers to gain control of the suspect. Regardless, I wouldn't be talking to him, nicely, until backup shows up.

tfort
tfort

It takes a really tough guy to hit an old man on a walker. Good job deputy, for resigning.

61mouse
61mouse

And what did he do but defend himself

vwiles34
vwiles34

All I saw was simple reflexes. If someone attacks you it's only natural to defend yourself. It isn't like he continued beating the hell out of the guy. And though it's hard to see if the guy had a pen or not in the video his right hand was raised and very well could have held a pen. So, in my opinion the officer only acted in self-defense and as anyone under attack would do.

investigator
investigator

The Sheriff should resign.......He's a P...y........playing to the masses!!!!

les0060
les0060

Black life matters where are you?

50wt
50wt

Would it help to start a collection to buy the Sheriff some balls.

BDRTdirector
BDRTdirector

So he had a walker thrown at him, a walker is a decent size piece of metal that could have seriously injured him in his face!! Whether he had a pen or not, I feel he acted appropriately, no telling how long or how many times the inmate has been doing dumb things like this. Times are changing and often the upper administration forgets what a regular hall/patrol beat is like these days.

charlesjandecka
charlesjandecka

The aggressive orange cone continued forward after thrusting the metal weapon into the officer. Punching or pushing the pos to stop the aggression is more than legitimate!

Rdwaryer63
Rdwaryer63

And we wonder why the community doesn't trust us to police ourselves in Use of Force incidents. I started law enforcement in 1974, probably before many of you were born and I am still in it today, albeit it part time. My career has taken me from GA, to Los Angeles to Orlando to SW MO and there's not much I haven't seen or done, including multiple OIS's. I have taught DT's for over 30 years, I have testified as a Use of Force expert, I have taught Survival Attitude for over 30 years and I am a firm believer in doing whatever it takes to effect an arrest WITHIN REASON! This is not one of those cases. I've read "It was a walker;, it could have done this, it could have done that." Let's look at the facts. This was a 54 year old man who was in such poor physical condition, he had to use a walker to walk. This was a light, aluminum walker that was tossed at the deputy; not thrown or hurled. It was easily brushed aside, followed by the punch. I've been hit with more force than that by a 6 year old girl. That punch was not necessary. Had the walker been raised over the head of the inmate or held in a swinging position, then that presents a potential threat of imminent danger. However, the threat was past. It's akin to someone throwing a knife at you and after the knife passes you, you shoot the person several times. Why? The threat no longer exists. The threat existed when they held the knife, then raised it up. If you can't handle a man in such poor physical condition he needs the assistance of a walker to walk without punching him, you're in the wrong line of work. What happens if you go to a call at a nursing home and a 65 year old man with Dementia tosses his walker at you? Are you going to punch him as well? According to most of you, the answer is "Yes".

As far as Sheriff Staly goes, I've known and worked with him since 1983 and he always backed his people as a road corporal and sergeant. Had this deputy even remotely acted appropriately, Staly would have backed him. That was not the case here. This deputy overreacted in a situation where hands on tactics could have been used. I have watched this video several times and saw no pen but even if he did have one, again, this was not a 25 year old, healthy male but a less than physically fit male who had already been diagnosed with schizophrenia the month before. But here is what I found most telling. The IA investigator wrote "Once relieved, Deputy Tazewell removed himself from the situation so he could emotionally calm down.” The day I need to emotionally calm down after a little ruckus like that is the day I hang up my badge for good. This use of force was not justified in this situation, in my opinion. You may not like my opinion, but after almost 4 decades in LE, I've darn sure earned the right to it.

Gap Filler
Gap Filler

Sheriff is a spineless jellyfish and should have had this deputy's back.

The deputy for his part should have returned the walker to the inmate, parking it in his anal cavity