Apparent head slamming during takedown to get standard JSO review

Sex offender accused of threatening cops charged with resisting without violence

By Jim Piggott - Reporter, Steve Patrick - News4Jax digital managing editor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The actions of a Jacksonville police officer who appeared to repeatedly slam a man's head on the pavement as he and others were arresting the man Thursday afternoon will receive a standard review by the Response to Resistance Board, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said Friday.

The response came after News4Jax asked to interview Sheriff Mike Williams about the arrest, which was recorded. The arrest came after a standoff in the Westside neighborhood in which a man claiming to have a weapon was barricaded in a house on Cinderella Road.

A JSO public information officer said Williams would not be available Friday due to a prior engagement.

Todaryl BrittThat suspect arrested, now identified as Todaryl Britt, 47, was booked into the Duval County jail late Thursday on several outstanding charges and a new charge of resisting arrest without violence. He made his first appearance before a judge Friday.

Video of the arrest shows Britt get down on the ground as officers swarm to arrest him. Britt turns to his side and an officer wearing black gloves appears to slam his head on the pavement several.

Police said Britt had a warrant out for his arrest. The report released Friday shows he was wanted since April 30 for failure to register as a sex offender and four related charges. When an officer made contact Thursday afternoon, he requested backup and a K-9 officer, saying Britt has a history of resisting police and running if given the opportunity. 

WATCH: SWAT suspect threatened to kill police, arrest report says

"I announced that, if the suspect was inside, to come out with his hands up. Mr. Britt immediately advised that we were going to have to kill him. Mr. Britt partially exposed half of his body through a doorway and would not show me his hands. He then stated that he would kill the police. Additional units arrived and set a perimeter. After a two hour standoff with multiple officers attempting to convince him to come out of the house, the suspect attempted to run eastbound on Cinderella Road. Multiple officers pursued on foot. Sgt. D. Howell attempted to deploy his CEW (Taser) but neither probe contacted the suspect. He was apprehended immediately afterward and placed in my patrol car without further incident," arresting Officer J.K. Walker wrote in the report.

"It should be noted that during the two-hour standoff, Mr. Britt stated multiple times that he was not going back to prison and that police would have to kill him first. He also stated multiple times that he had a gun and that he would kill police, although he was not actually armed. Mr. Britt refused to comply with multiple requests and commands to be taken into custody peacefully," the report concludes.

The report said the arresting officer was wearing a body camera.

The jail website now shows Britt is also charged with resisting an officer without violence.

ORIGINAL STORY: Video appears to show suspect's head slammed
RAW VIDEO: Video shows takedown after Westside standoff
RELATED? Home where Britt was barricaded Thursday catches fire Friday

News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson reacted to the video.

"To jump on him and aggressively push his head down was totally unnecessary," Jefferson said. "He was no threat to all those officers with all those guns.

"The only cause for concern that I saw was when he reached in his back pocket to try and pull something out. You can't play with that. When a suspect is reaching for something, when he's being told to put his hands up or his hands out, it is a cause for concern but they were on him so fast he wouldn't have had a chance to pull anything out of his pocket," Jefferson said.

In response, Steve Zona, the head of the Fraternal Order of Police in Jacksonville, tweeted Thursday night:

“He pushed up from the ground during the arrest he didn’t give up.  On top of that you have zero idea what happened to lead all those officers to be there to make the arrest... I'll wait for the facts."

In an interview Friday, Zona told News4Jax it doesn't appear the officer is actually slamming the suspect's head on the ground.

"What it looks like to me is that officer’s delivering some sort of palm strike to the face and his face just happens to be by the concrete and it hits it. Clearly it hits," Zona said. "But those are distraction techniques to get control of the suspect, to get control of their hands when they’re doing something they shouldn’t be doing."

Zona pointed out that, in the video, the suspect can be seen moving his hand toward his pocket as he tries to get up from the ground.

"He said he was armed. He ran out there, laid down in the middle of the street. He pushed up and reached for his pocket. What was he reaching for? Was it a gun? Was it a knife?" Zona asked.

In his tweet, Zona responded specifically to Jefferson's criticism of the takedown:

"Ken Jefferson I love you brother but I'll lay on the ground every day of the week & twice on Sunday & let you point a gun at me. I'll roll over, take a gun from my waist & shoot you every time. Action is quicker than reaction. We are taught this in the academy."

Jefferson, a 24-year veteran of the JSO and a former instructor at the police academy, said he had called it as he saw it and said of Zona's response, "We agree to disagree."

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