Police Officer Fired, Arrested For Using Unnecessary Force

August 18, 2012

A Pensacola Police officer was fired Friday after a routine review of his patrol vehicle’s camera revealed he used unnecessary force in making a recent arrest.

Officer Christopher Geraci also was arrested and charged with battery.

“This type of behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” Pensacola Police Chief Simmons said, adding that the incident was found through a routine supervisory review of the videotape and was not the result of a complaint. Department supervisors review all uses of force.

The incident occurred around 2:30 a.m. August 2 when Geraci responded to a hit and run crash at D and Cervantes streets. The driver – identified as Abbi Bonds, 29, of Pensacola – was found with the car in the 1100 block of North C Street. The car had heavy front end damage and was disabled.

During a verbal exchange between Geraci and Bonds, Geraci approached Bonds and grabbed her by her left arm. He then forcibly slung her into the side of the car, then grabbed the back of her head and forced it into the top of the vehicle while placing her in handcuffs.

“When I saw the video, I was shocked and disappointed,” Simmons said. “This is not how we train, it was unreasonable force and it was inconsistent with the level of resistance.”

Bonds was charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving property damage, failure to yield, driving under the influence, and not having proof of insurance.

Geraci, 33, was hired by the department as a cadet on March 1, 2004, and promoted to police officer on March 14, 2005. He presently was assigned to the department’s K-9 Unit in the Uniform Patrol Division.

Upon review of the video, Geraci was placed on leave until he was fired Friday.


27 Responses to “Police Officer Fired, Arrested For Using Unnecessary Force”

  1. HND on August 21st, 2012 11:58 pm

    After viewing the video in its entirety, on another website, this officer did nothing wrong…
    She was belligerent, resisting arrest, and called someone while being arrested! Who knows who she was calling and what that person may have done.
    On top of that, he put her in a police approved move. Her body kept going while her feet did not, due to the curb. This sweet young woman also has a prior arrest (and conviction) history. She has been in two different domestic assault cases, with two different people, and her as the petitioner. All public record. Seems like something is off here, and it isn’t the cop.
    The full video also shows that after she calmed down and was acting civilized, the officer was very polite to her. Seems to me the department tossed this man to the wolves, and the media helped.

  2. David Huie Green on August 21st, 2012 12:44 pm

    “However, if I’m traveling 1000 miles at 2 MPH, you’ll beat me quite handily if you travel the same distance at say 7 MPH. And I bet it’s by more than 1/1000th of a minute.”

    I suspect it was hyperbole, exaggeration to make a point. Even so, I imagine any of us who have ever been passed noticed we were both stopped at the next red light with the speeding vehicle mere feet ahead of us.

    David for arriving alive

  3. David Huie Green on August 21st, 2012 12:39 pm

    “How about respect for the laws that have been put in place for the safety of all?”

    Yes, she was wrong. Does that mean he has to be wrong too? No. He was a professional; she was a drunk. They should not be acting alike. In fact, SHE was being nonviolent. HE should obey the laws applying to him.

    “ He’s pulling her over knowing she’s fleeing from an accident,”

    Since the accident seems to have disabled her car, she was not fleeing. She was broke down.

    “ By no means am I saying the officer should just get away with it, I just don’t believe he’s a horrible person for having allowed this immature, irresponsible, drunken driver get the better of him.”

    Not horrible, simply unwilling or unable to do his job properly at least this one time according to you and according to the chief of police. Maybe he would’ve done it properly ever after. How likely is that? He was facing further frustrations if he continued in that job. More likely he would’ve simply learned to cover up his misdeeds better.

    David for a better job
    and it done properly

  4. JJM5 on August 20th, 2012 9:15 pm

    “5 miles an hour faster will get you there about 1/1000th of a minute faster”

    I guess we’re missing a few variables. If I’m traveling at a very high rate of speed, I suppose that math could work out (given that the precise distance, that yeilds that result, is traveled). However, if I’m traveling 1000 miles at 2 MPH, you’ll beat me quite handily if you travel the same distance at say 7 MPH. And I bet it’s by more than 1/1000th of a minute.

  5. Respect?! on August 20th, 2012 6:19 pm

    How about respect for the laws that have been put in place for the safety of all? Or respect for the officer when he instructed her to get back in her vehicle and she blatanly told him off and refused? He’s pulling her over knowing she’s fleeing from an accident, she then refuses to cooperate in a field where these guys are trained to assume everyone is dangerous, he has no way of knowing if she’s armed and maybe in the video you can’t see it but even the tiniest hesitation could have put any officer in a state of hyper alert. By no means am I saying the officer should just get away with it, I just don’t believe he’s a horrible person for having allowed this immature, irresponsible, drunken driver get the better of him.

  6. BobtheGrape on August 20th, 2012 12:39 pm

    Hooray for Pensacola Police Chief Simmons. It is unfortunate that there are policepersons who take their job as being able to bully folks around. Chief Simmons is to be commended for taking action for his officers inappropriate actions. It is too bad that the young man didn’t show more restraint and treat the woman with some respect. More police officials shoud react the way Chief Simmons did.
    If a person is arrested or detained by an police personnel and gives no resistance or cooperates with the arresing officer/s then there is no need to beat the crap out of them just to show that the cop is the boss. Apparently,the arrestee knows that by not putting up a fight. And if the cop is significantly larger than the miscreant there is no need to have a flock f cops throww him on the ground and pig-pile him/her(no pun intended).

  7. John on August 20th, 2012 11:04 am

    I don’t think some people understand that a police officer is paid to do his job without unnecessary force. Period! That is the training, that is the job! That’s why this monkey got fired. Pretty simple for the simple minded!

  8. me on August 19th, 2012 11:29 pm

    you think the PPD wants negative publicity,I dont think so. So its get rid of the guy and move on it happens everywhere

  9. me on August 19th, 2012 11:26 pm

    The way they word things,and only show and tell what they want .She wasnt a poor inocent girl doing nothing wrong,she couldve killed someone

  10. William on August 19th, 2012 11:23 pm

    >>>>Good job media for given these criminals another loop hole.

    Not sure how you blame the media. All the info in the story was provided by the Pensacola PD.

  11. me on August 19th, 2012 11:21 pm

    lose your job for doing your job,what a joke. Maybe she will get enough money to pay for the property she damaged,or get insurance,or more beer since the cops cant do ANYTHING anymore. Good job media for given these criminals another loop hole.

  12. me on August 19th, 2012 10:04 pm

    she clearly fell anyway.

  13. Phillip Bowman on August 19th, 2012 5:05 pm

    The crime(s) alleged to have been comitted by the suspect have no bearing on the need for (or lack of need for) an appropriate level of force to place the suspect under arrest and in custody. We are all considered innocent until proven guilty.

  14. bill on August 19th, 2012 4:35 pm

    Bullies make good cops……. until they’re caught on camera!
    Too many coppers think WE are the enemy.

  15. Robin Bonds on August 19th, 2012 10:43 am

    Hi all of you with comments on Officer Gerica behavior .
    Iam the mother of the young lady being slamed up against the side of the car.
    And my comment is NO person should be treated in that manner.
    The (BANG)!!!!!! of my babys head is still ringing in my ears.
    The main message is we are human badge or not GOD made us all equal and we should respect each other. PS THANK FOR JUSTISE.

  16. David Schwartz on August 19th, 2012 9:36 am

    The video is pretty obvious. I showed it to my wife and we both went “WOAH HO..Where did that come from?” The girl got charged with all appropriate crimes, but she wasn’t the one who reported this. I’ve met Chip Simmons several times and found him to be an entirely reasonable guy. He’s protecting his department.. Did you see that girl bounce off the side of the car? POW!

  17. hawghead on August 18th, 2012 11:42 pm

    I don’t care if she did commit hit and run and DUI….She did not deserve being slammed into her car or have her hair pulled….I watched the video several times and never once did I see this young lady “fight” with the officer…The officer has anger problems that need to be dealt with so he does not take out his anger on the public….Many LEO’s make these same kinds of arrests each day and never do that to the offender….Kudos to the Pensacola Police Dept. for taking this guy off the street and out of uniform….

  18. David Huie Green on August 18th, 2012 11:34 pm

    “I’m not convinced Officer Geraci is the bad guy the press is touting him to be.”

    You could be right and I easily could be wrong.

    I’m not basing it on what the press is saying about it unless you count their reporting of what the chief of police had to say about it: ” “This type of behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” Pensacola Police Chief Simmons said, ”

    He may be a fool, but I doubt it. I know law enforcement is slow to falsely accuse their brethren, even tend to be slow to rightfully accuse their brethren. If he thinks it was excessive, I suspect he is telling the truth.

    David for trustworthy law enforcement officers

  19. Steve Gallimore on August 18th, 2012 6:30 pm

    I have to agree with Laura’s statement, if you watch the video carefully they are standing at different levels and she is intoxicated. The video is poor, so movements
    are somewhat accelerated. This is one time I have to disagree with David Huie Green, there is more to this than meets the eye and I’m not convinced Officer Geraci is the bad guy the press is touting him to be.

  20. David Huie Green on August 18th, 2012 5:54 pm

    “Oh maybe he should have said oh pretty please let me arrest you!!!”

    Or perhaps he could have simply placed her under arrest without taking it upon himself to punish her crimes. It is dangerous to put bullies in charge.

    David for a job properly done

  21. Laura on August 18th, 2012 4:54 pm

    Unless he has a record of unnecessary force, I don’t understand why he was fired for this. She was a drunk driver, who fled the scene of an accident. He was so convinced she resisted that he even tells her he’s got it on video. I too wonder how much of that impact was from his force or the fact that she was drunk, wearing very high heels and standing on the road as opposed to the elevated sidewalk where he was standing. I’m not a police officer so what do I know, but I really don’t understand how a few years ago one of their officers tased a teen from his moving vehicle while driving in the wrong lane and ends up running him over ultimately killing him and he got an unpaid suspension. But this officer uses a little too much force with a drunk driver and he’s fired for it. Like I said, unless he has a history of this, I don’t understand why he was fired for it.

  22. Sane American on August 18th, 2012 4:25 pm

    When it goes to trial, and it will, I hope the lawyers for the city do better at conveying what happened than WEAR has done. It’s the police I feel sorry for. How many people are nice to cops when they get pulled over? Almost none I bet. The 7- 10 times I’ve been pulled over in my long driving history, I have always pleasant to them. It’s my fault I got pulled over, not theirs. I pay them to do their job through my taxes, and when their job involves pulling me over, I know that I’m getting what my money’s worth. Try this approach the next time you get pulled over: “Do you know why I pulled you over”-cop. “Yes sir/ma’am, I was speeding like an idiot and you saw me”-you. They’ll ask why you were speeding, give them the only correct answer there is to that question, which is because I’m an idiot who thinks that speeding will get me there faster. And it doesn’t get you there faster by the way. 5 miles an hour faster gets you there about 1/1000th of a minute faster.

  23. Freda Whaley on August 18th, 2012 3:12 pm

    Should have gotten back in the car when told to do so. I’m not excusing the officer but dealing with drunks time and time again it’s a wonder he didn’t do more. Also after watching the tape I wonder if she hit the car that hard because of him or because she was too drunk to stand up and really fell?

  24. bewildered on August 18th, 2012 11:27 am

    The comments prove again what I like about the people who live in the northend of the County. They still have common sense. Channel 3 last evening made it sound like the cop randomly stopped an innocent sweet young lady and slammed her against the car. LOL – we don’t need to know that she left the scene of an accident, drove drunk, no insurance.

  25. Mitchell Carpenter on August 18th, 2012 9:40 am

    Glad to get the rest of the story. Channel 3 @ 10pm last night showed the video, but never mentioned whether or not she was the driver of the hit and run vehicle. They did have listed as the “Victim”. Granted that no one desires to get “Rodney King’d” by the po-leese, but had she not been drinking and driving and had she not left the scene of the accident, she wouldn’t have been a “Victim”.

  26. ME on August 18th, 2012 9:12 am

    Oh maybe he should have said oh pretty please let me arrest you!!!

  27. Uh Oh on August 18th, 2012 7:44 am

    I feel a suit coming…..

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