Body camera video shows now-former JSO officer lying to other officers about being punched by man

JSO officer Cecil Grant was arrested and fired after incident

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – News4JAX obtained the body camera video that Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters said proved a now-former officer lied when he said a man pushed him.

The man was arrested that night, but the charges against him were dropped after it was determined the body cam footage contradicted what the arresting JSO officer Cecil Grant said in his report. And he did not have probable cause to arrest him.

Sheriff Waters later announced Grant was arrested and charged with official misconduct, but the official misconduct charge was also dropped after Grant successfully completed a pretrial diversion program. In an agreement made with the State Attorneys Office, Grant was also required to give up his law enforcement credentials in the state of Florida.

News4JAX confirmed with JSO that Grant no longer works at the agency. News4JAX is not naming the man who was arrested, because as the sheriff and body camera video shows, he should not have been arrested in the first place.

The first body camera clip starts with former Officer Grant and others arriving at a home in Argyle Forest.

It then goes black for roughly 30 minutes because the footage is legally redacted under Florida records law.

Waters said what happened in those moments is what got us here.

“Apparently, he just didn’t want to tell the truth at that point,” Waters said.

Later on in the clip, the man is heard screaming at Grant.

“I didn’t f****** touch you!” the man said

“You did touch me,” Grant responded. “And you punched me nine times in my f****** face.”

In his report, Grant wrote, “While I was speaking with the suspect, the suspect put his hand on my shoulder and chest area and pushed me backward. Due to his size, I lost my balance and almost fell down.”

But when Grant was arrested another officer contradicted that statement, citing what was visible in the body camera video.

“Raises his right hand up with his palm out towards Officer Grant, however it does not appear that the man’s hand ever touches the arm of Officer Grant. Officer Grant is then observed striking the victim several times until the victim is taken to the ground,” the other officer wrote.

Later, Grant himself is heard talking to his fellow officers and sticking to his version of events.

“No, he pushed me,” Grant said in the video. “We’re literally about to leave and he was like, ‘I’m going to bed.’ We had nothing, and he came out talking about ****. Got in my face and was like this, and I was just like, ‘nope, nope.’”

Former JSO Assistant Chief and News4JAX Crime and Safety Analyst Lakesha Burton said it appears Grant believes his story and is trying to justify why he arrested the man.

Burton reviewed the footage and said incidents like this are harmful to law enforcement.

“These actions, it really, it makes it hard for the large majority of police officers who get it right, who perform their jobs with integrity,” Burton said. “It’s not good. And things like this contribute to the distrust of police officers.”

Burton also said incidents like this speak to the crucial role body camera footage plays in investigations. We also talked about the pretrial diversion program that was made available to former Officer Grant. It’s something available to first-time offenders and people charged with nonviolent crimes.

About the Author:

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013. She reports for and anchors The Morning Show.