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Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford takes a hard line on alleged police brutality case

9:57 PM, Oct 31, 2013   |    comments
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Auriel Harris

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- As a police officer, where do you draw the line between protecting and serving your community, and protecting yourself?

Sheriff John Rutherford is defending his deputies after an arrest that left a woman with two black eyes ... but her mother says what they did was wrong.

"That's her mug shot. And that is not how my baby normally looks," said Dawn Rosier.

Rosier said she can barely recognize her own daughter after her arrest.

Reading through Auriel Harris' police report, she said it just doesn't make sense.

"I'm going to do everything in my power to fight this," she said.

According to the police report, Harris was drunk and when an officer tried to arrest her, she bit him.

The report said he struck her 3 or 4 times in the face, but Rosier said neighbors tell a different story.

"She can hear my daughter just screaming, begging for her life, pleading for the officers to stop," said Rosier.

"They were beating her. They were honestly beating her because you could hear it," said a neighbor.

Rosier wants to know why they didn't stop.

"What happened to their police training? It just went totally out the door. Because you beat her. You beat her," she said.

But according to Sheriff John Rutherford, the officer did follow his training, to a T.

"If you bite one my of my officers, you can expect to get punched in the face," said Rutherford.

Rutherford called Rosier personally after she called JSO to complain.

And while he said he will look in to the allegations, on the face of it, he thinks the officer did the right thing.

"I stand completely and totally behind my officers for punching somebody in the face who was locked on to their arm to get them off. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that," said Rutherford.

Looking at the blood on her daughter's purse, Rosier said everything is wrong with that.

"When I thought JSO would protect my child's life and save my child's life if she needed it, they damn near took it," she said.

Rosier has just filed an excessive force complaint against the officer.

Auriel Harris is still in jail on charges of assaulting an officer.

First Coast News

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