West Palm Beach police lieutenant demoted after controversial behavior caught on video
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) —
A West Palm Beach police lieutenant has been demoted and disciplined after a disturbing incident that was caught on video.
The incident occurred over a year ago and led to an Internal Affairs investigation that has just been concluded.
The details of this case are spelled out in an Internal Affairs report.
Supervisors concluded the police lieutenant showed a lack of professionalism and a lack of self-control. A police officer’s job is to calm people down, not cause a fight.
But video from a police body-worn camera shows Lt. Craig Davis challenging a man to a fight.
Davis arrived at the scene of a disturbance in September 2017, then confronted a man about hitting a woman.
“You’re supposed to be a man, then act like it," he said. "Men don’t hit old women like this, under no circumstances."
After that, things got heated; Davis challenged the resident, Eric Anderson, to a fistfight.
“You understand me? Let’s go right now. C’mon,” Davis said.
“You got on a badge, brother,” Anderson replied.
“’ll take this s---t off right now and then I will beat your f---ing a— unconscious,” Davis said.
As the video shows moments later, Davis takes off his ballistic vest, as if he’s preparing to actually engage in a fight and drops the vest on the ground.
Next, Davis takes off his gun belt and puts it on the ground.
As other officers watch, Davis confronts Anderson and appears to be ready to go at it, standing just inches away from him cursing.
“You’re a f---ing b--- f----- p--- mother---er,” Davis said.
Davis continues to berate Anderson, calling him derogatory names.
Anderson then tells the police lieutenant he’s not scared and knows how to box.
Davis eventually walks off, but tells him this isn’t over and says he’ll find him one day.
He later told Internal Affairs he never planned on hitting or striking Anderson.
He admitted that taking off his ballistic vest and gun belt were not in accordance with his training and Davis called his actions “reckless and stupid.”
In the IA report, it reads, “He said his actions could definitely affect the public’s respect and trust of police and specifically the West Palm Beach Police Department."
Davis also said he was “horribly embarrassed” by this incident.
According to the IA report, the police chief wanted Davis terminated.
But in the end, he was demoted from lieutenant to sergeant and was given an 80 hour suspension.
A police spokesman said Davis was unavailable for comment. CBS12 News could not reach Anderson for comment.
West Palm Beach Police released this statement:
Officers deal with a lot of stress; unfortunately, at times they may not conduct themselves professionally. In this case, a misinterpretation by the officer who believed he witnessed a male beating an older female, led to serious consequences--resulting in disciplinary action against him. Though some mitigating circumstances existed, his conduct was unacceptable and not in accordance with our training or policy. We expect the highest professional standards from our officers.