Dash cam video shows St. Pete cop's 'excessive force' - WNCN: News, Weather

Dash cam video shows St. Pete cop's 'excessive force'

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Stephen Patrick Woodworth mug shot from the DUI arrest Stephen Patrick Woodworth mug shot from the DUI arrest
ST PETERSBURG, FL (WFLA) -

The St. Petersburg Police Department fired one of its officers because it claims he intended to dump some dash cam video evidence in a DUI case.

The video, according to the department, shows officer Kenneth Pienik using unnecessary force during a January arrest.

It shows Pienik lost his temper January 31st, with DUI suspect Stephen Woodworth.

As Pienik tried to gather information Woodworth became uncooperative and argumentative.

Pienik lost his temper, used profanity, then grabbed hold of Woodworth's arm and took him to the ground in a manner that, according to St. Petersburg Interim Chief David DeKay, employed an unnecessary use of force.

"Officers are only supposed to use force when it is absolutely necessary in the arrest and also for their own safety. It is clear Officer Pienik went beyond that line," St. Petersburg Police Department spokesperson Yolanda Fernandez said.

What really chapped investigators is Pienik knew the requirements for placing dash cam videos into evidence, and the department's internal affairs investigation claims he intentionally did not follow policy.

According to the St. Petersburg Police Department, Pienik told the state attorney, the video was of no evidential value and would disappear.

An internal affairs investigation concluded Pienik never intended to preserve the evidence or use it in the criminal process.

The investigation determined Pienik violated six department policies, including use of unnecessary force. He also violated three city policies, including improper conduct as well as serious neglect, incompetence, or inefficiency in the performance of assigned duties.

"It was unacceptable behavior. He clearly had a lapse in judgment at the time of the arrest and then he had another lapse of judgment when he was supposed to put the video in evidence," Fernandez said.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.

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