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Last Updated: Saturday, 16 February 2008, 18:15 GMT
US wheelchair-dump deputy charged
Brian Sterner being tipped from wheelchair (grab from police video)
Video footage of the incident has been widely circulated

A US sheriff's deputy who dumped a quadriplegic man out of his wheelchair has been charged with felony abuse.

Charlette Marshall-Jones was booked at the same police station where the incident happened - in Tampa, Florida.

She is accused of tipping Brian Sterner out of his wheelchair onto the floor of the police station after he was arrested for a driving offence.

Dep Marshall-Jones was charged with felony abuse of a disabled person and bailed for $3,500 (1,800).

The 29 January incident was caught on a CCTV camera at the jail in Hillsborough County, which incorporates Tampa, and the video has since been widely circulated.

Unable to break fall

Mr Sterner, 32, who is able to drive, had been arrested at his home by officers acting on a traffic violation warrant.

Unable to walk since a 1994 accident, he has only partial use of his arms and no feeling below the sternum.

But Mr Sterner said that when he arrived at the booking office Dep Marshall-Jones, 44, told him to stand up.

When he told her he was unable to do so because he was paralysed, she grew agitated, he said.

Brian Sterner on floor after being tipped from wheelchair (grab from police video)
Dep Marshall-Jones frisked Mr Sterner as he lay on the floor

The surveillance video, released by the sheriff's office, shows Dep Marshall-Jones walking behind Mr Sterner's chair to tip it forwards until he falls to the floor.

Unable to brace his fall, Mr Sterner lands heavily and rolls onto his back, at which point Dep Marshall-Jones starts searching his pockets.

A fellow officer joins her, helping to roll Mr Sterner over and search his back pockets.

The pair then attempt to get Mr Sterner back into his chair, but finding they are unable to do so they call over to other deputies who help lift him into place.

Dep Marshall-Jones was suspended without pay after the incident and fellow officers Sgt Gary Hinson, Cpl Steven Dickey and Cpl Decondra Williams have been put on administrative leave until an investigation can be completed.

Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee has apologised to Mr Sterner.

US police 'dumped paralysed man'
13 Feb 08 |  Americas

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