Video: Deputy Pepper Sprays, Chokes Key West Swimmer, Gets Fired

Warning: The video above is taken from body cam footage of the incident. It contains graphic scenes including profanity, nudity and violence and may be disturbing to some viewers.

The Blue Paper has obtained a copy of a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office internal affairs report. The report states that Deputy Jon Riggs “became enraged” at a swimmer who refused to get out of the water.

The naked man, who the report says, had committed no crime and posed no threat was pepper sprayed at least five times – once at extremely close range.  Riggs even attempted to tase him, and to get in the water and “choke [him] out,” threatened to gaff him, threatened to drown him and ultimately used a potentially lethal choke hold to remove him from the water.

According to the internal affairs report, even though it was clear that the man was suffering a drug or mental episode, Deputy Riggs had begun to deploy a taser and pepper spray within minutes of arriving on scene.

The report concludes that the use of a taser on a subject who is in water was tantamount to the use of lethal force.  “We are extremely fortunate,” wrote the investigator, “that this incident did not result in serious injury or loss of life.”





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2 thoughts on “Video: Deputy Pepper Sprays, Chokes Key West Swimmer, Gets Fired

  1. This is yet another outrageous example of just how dangerously out of control law enforcement in this country has become. If anyone besides a law enforcement officer had done what former Deputy Riggs did they would have been immediately arrested, jailed, and would certainly be facing multiple felony charges.

    Here are some questions:

    Why was someone like Riggs hired by the Sheriff’s Department in the first place? How did such a vicious thug who is clearly prone to violent assault and has obvious anger management problems ever get a law enforcement certification? Why did the Sheriff’s Department keep Riggs on the job after having to send him to anger management counseling three times? Why did the Sheriff’s Department keep Riggs on the job after five previous sustained internal investigations? Why did it take nearly 11 months for this latest outrageous incident to come to light? Why are we just finding out now that Riggs has a years-long history of completely unacceptable and likely criminal behavior while working for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department? Who are the co-workers and supervisors, besides Sheriff Ramsey, that have apparently been covering all of this up? Why has Riggs only been fired? Why has his law enforcement certification not been permanently revoked? Why has he not been charged with making criminal threats, battery, assault, aggravated assault, or possibly even attempted murder? Why have the other law enforcement personnel who assisted Riggs (or, at the very least, stood by and did nothing to stop him) not been named, fired, and possibly criminally charged? Why did they inject a man, who is clearly already restrained by multiple law enforcement personnel, with Ketamine, a dangerous and sometimes lethal sedative? Why did law enforcement involve themselves in this situation at all? Since when is a man skinny-dipping in a canal a law enforcement issue?

    The answers to these questions paint a very ugly picture of former Deputy Riggs, Sheriff Ramsey, and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, in particular, but also of the FWC, the KWPD, the PBA, and law enforcement in general.

  2. Very good reporting!
    Perhaps the most disturbing to me was forcing an injection into him after he was under restraint. This is an international human rights violation under the UNESCO Bioethics Declaration Article 6- Consent. Informed consent is also also required under US Law and affirmed by the Supreme Court in Missouri v. McNeely, 2013.

    Since when did skinny dipping become a criminal offense? And requiring such an absurd allocation of police resources? No wonder extremists want to defund police! I doubt that military policing would be an improvement, but that is the inevitable alternative to no local police. There may be something to be said for wild west frontier justice?

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