Saturday, August 15, 2009

Jail deputy accused of abuse has clean work record

TAMPA -- The Hillsborough County Sheriff's jail deputy accused of beating a teenage inmate has a spotless work record, according to his personnel file.

Joshua Spencer, 28, has been suspended without pay while the Sheriff's Office moves to fire him after investigators say he repeatedly punched a 16-year-old inmate in his Falkenburg Road Jail cell early Thursday after the boy allegedly spat on him through a meal slot.

Before the incident, Spencer, a five-year veteran, earned annual satisfactory reviews and even a commendation for perfect work attendance in 2006. "He is an eager and energetic deputy," Lt. Scott Smith wrote on a 2007 evaluation.

Sheriff David Gee ordered the criminal investigation after Wednesday's attack was reported by another deputy. Sheriff's officials said Spencer charged inside the cell of Sean Walker, 16, and pummeled him. Other deputies restrained Spencer and took the teen to have a 1-inch gash on the back of his head examined. Doctors determined there was no major injury.
Walker, a Middleton High School student, remains in jail on robbery charges. His bail is set at $7,500.

Spencer was charged with misdemeanor battery and felony official misconduct, and has been released on $2,500 bail.

Justin George, Times staff writer

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