White deputy who held pregnant, Black woman at gunpoint forced to resign
Ebony Washington's husband posted a video of the encounter with Deputy Jacob Desue on social media a day after the traffic stop.
A white Florida deputy who pointed a gun at a pregnant Black mother as her child cried in fear is no longer with his department because his sheriff forced him to resign.
“At the end of the day, we determined that was something that we didn’t need representing us, or protecting our community,” Bradford County Sheriff Gordon Smith told First Coast News.
The incident involving Ebony Washington of Jacksonville, Florida, and Deputy Jacob Desue first gained attention when Washington’s husband posted a video of the encounter on social media Aug. 13, the day after it happened.
Washington was driving home with her three children late last Friday night when Desue tried to pull her over for speeding, Washington told WJAX-TV. She was going 72 miles per hour in a 55-mph zone, her lawyer maintained.
The driver told WJAX she put on her hazard lights and didn’t immediately stop because it was dark out and she would feel more comfortable in a well-lit area.
The Bradford County Sheriff’s department saw the Facebook post, and according to First Coast News, pulled body-camera footage that showed what happened next.
After Washington stopped, Desue got out of his patrol car, pointed his gun at the van she was driving and said, “If you make a move, that’ll be the last mistake you make. Do not move,” WJAX reported.
A four-months-pregnant Washington got out of her van with her hands raised and tried to explain she was looking for a safe place to pull over, but Desue was undeterred.
“Your excuse means nothing to me right now,” Desue said, as recorded on the bodycam. He then allegedly handcuffed Washington.
In the meantime, one of Washington’s children began recording the incident, and another child can be heard on the video crying, First Coast reported. A youngster says in the vehicle: “He told her to step out of the vehicle. He just put the handcuffs on her, Dad.”
Eventually, Desue gave Washington a speeding ticket and let her go.
But that wasn’t enough for Sheriff Smith, who told First Coast that Washington did everything right, and Desue didn’t.
“I am disturbed and disheartened how Jacob Desue handled the traffic stop on Ebony Washington. She responded in a manner that was totally understandable in this circumstance,” Smith told WFLA-TV. “Jacob Desue should have de-escalated the situation but disappointingly was unable to respond in the appropriate manner.”
The pregnant mother reflected on what could have happened.
“Had I have done any movement outside of what he told me to do, that would’ve been the opportunity for him to pull the trigger,” she told WFLA. “Him having power, the badge, the gun and the authority to do things, I think sometimes officers, like himself, they take advantage.”
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