Deputy accused of excessive force, teen in court


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Deputy accused of excessive force, teen in court

By Matt Grant. CREATED Aug 22, 2012 - UPDATED: Aug 22, 2012

FORT MYERS, Fla. - A 14-year-old girl accused of swinging at a Lee County Sheriff deputy who was arresting her father could be going on trial.

With hands clenched, the teen captured on video taking a swing at Hill, and missing, made her first court appearance Wednesday.

"I have a pending motion to dismiss for outrageous governmental conduct," said her Miami attorney John De Leon, "as a result of the actions of Deputy Hill."

De Leon says Hill acted inappropriately and wants his client's charges dropped.

Cell phone video shows Hill pointing a weapon at a group of small last year after deputies arrested the girl's father for an open container violation.

The video shows the teen took a swing at Hill once and missed. That's when another deputy forced her to the ground and arrested her.

In Hill's written report, he writes the girl "raised her fists and struck [him] in the arm and chest multiple times before she was restrained."

De Leon says Hill testified in his deposition that he was afraid.

"You'll hear responses that the officer said they were in fear of their life," said De Leon, "because of the actions of this 14-year-old."

The girl as charged with battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting with violence.

This isn't the first time Hill has been accused of excessive force. Earlier this year, seven customers at the Fort Myers gay bar the Office Pub claimed Hill charged them with his gun drawn after he thought he heard gun shots.

Witnesses say it was a car door and say Hill Tasered a handicapped man.

"He said get on your knees," said Robert Ortiz, who is handicapped and walks with a cane. "And we didn't move to get on our knees right away so then they said get on your knees or we will [expletive] shoot you."
If the teen's case goes to trial, De Leon says he plans to call witnesses from the Office Pub to testify hoping to demonstrate a pattern of behavior.

"Shows an officer," he said, "that may be out of control."

The judge set a court date for Oct. 12 where charges could be dropped. If they aren't, the trial will start that day.

De Leon also criticized the way the Sheriff's Office handles internal investigation. He questions why, after several complaints, Hill was listed as a "witness" and not the "subject" of the Office Pub internal investigation.

Matt Grant