ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Two St. Petersburg police officers are being disciplined over two incidents that happened earlier this year.
- 2 officers disciplined for improper use of force
- Police Chief Anthony Holloway convened Command Review Board to investigate
- Both officers to undergo proper use of force training
Police Chief Anthony Holloway is disciplining the officers for alleged improper use of force in dealing with suspects in separate encounters in April and May. Holloway had convened a Command Review Board to investigate the incidents.
"Once we get a use of force report, our review goes through the chain of command," Holloway said. "That includes the office of professional standards and a major that spot checks (the incident)."
Both incidents were captured on tape.
According to the department, K-9 Officer Matthew Kirchgraber was assisting a Pinellas County Sheriff's Deputy in the arrest of a suspect on 4th Avenue South on April 5 when he was accused of "an unnecessary amount of force during the arrest."
Authorities said Kirchgraber delivered three "distractionary blows" to the left side of the arrested man. The sheriff's deputy can also be seen on the tape striking the suspect.
The arrest was captured on home security video that the family brought to the attention of the police department.
Ofc. Kirchgraber was disciplined with an employee notice and must receive training on proper use of force.
"The officer (Kirchgraber) delivered three distractionary blows," Holloway said. "We teach that distractionary blows are the last thing that you would do. (But) we get the luxury of looking at the tape and second guessing.
"After a review, what the officer should have done was something else."
The deputy in this case was identified as Deputy Curry.
"The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office conducted a thorough internal investigation into the allegation that Deputy Curry used improper force. The Administrative Review Board determined that the allegations against Deputy Curry were unsubstantiated, Sheriff's Office Sgt. Spencer Gross said in a prepared statement.
A second St. Petersburg officer was disciplined for a May 6 use of force during a police pursuit.
According to officials, Officer Andrew Viehmann shot a suspect with a Taser after the suspect led police on a short pursuit and then ran out of his truck.
In scene video from a police helicopter, Officer Viehmann can be seen pointing a Taser at the suspect. (SPPD)
The suspect said he was following commands and had his hands in the air when he was tased.
The Board sustained the charge of unnecessary use of force against Officer Viehmann. He was disciplined with an employee notice and a two week unpaid suspension. He must also undergo training for proper use of force.
Officer Seth Maranville was also present at the arrest and was sustained for improper procedures. He received discipline of an employee notice.