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Sheriff: Pinellas County deputy arrested for beating inmate

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Joel De Los Reyes Joel De Los Reyes
PINELLAS COUNTY, FL (WFLA) - Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says a detention deputy has been arrested for battery on an inmate.

The alleged incident happened in August 2013 when Deputy Joel De Los Reyes, 51, was assigned to supervise a juvenile pod at the Pinellas County Jail.

Investigators say the incident started when De Los Reyes had a verbal exchange with one of the inmates over whether the television would remain on or off and horseplay between inmates.

De Los Reyes, who's worked for the Sheriff's Office since 2006, then decided to remove the inmate, 16-year-old Steven Valentin, from the cell and walked him over to the day room, where he allegedly pushed him onto a table and struck the inmate with his knee and elbow.

Sheriff Gualtieri says a second deputy, Detention Deputy Adrian Nenu, was present for the incident. Nenu allegedly entered the room through an emergency door, which remained opened and unsecured. Also during which an inner cell door used to secure the juvenile inmates was left open, the sheriff says.

Nenu then documented that inmate Valentin was verbally abusive towards De Los Reyes and that he witnessed the deputy deliver a "guided custodial touch" to the inmate. He later admitted that this was an inaccurate representation of what had occurred.

De Los Reyes also failed to report the use of force. He initially stated the inmate was not compliant and that his strike was not excessive. He later admitted to using excessive force.

As a result, an internal investigation was initiated.

De Los Reyes resigned while under investigation and turned himself in to the Pinellas County Jail on Monday morning on charges of battery.

Nenu has received a seven day suspension.

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