Orange County deputy accused of beating teen faced past problems
Posted Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — An Orange County sheriff's deputy was caught on camera kicking a man.
A woman said the same deputy dislocated her shoulder, and now the parents of a 17-year-old boy claim the deputy beat their son in their driveway. Channel 9 has learned that the deputy faced a long list of problems before being fired from another agency.
In the past seven years, Deputy Richard Nye has seen 21 excessive-force complaints filed against him.
According to investigators, in the most recent incident deputies were searching for a 30-year-old suspect.
Video of the incident shows three deputies walking toward some teenagers playing basketball in front of a house.
According to Sheriff's Office reports, the teens didn’t believe the deputies, who were dressed in law enforcement-issued pants and shirts that don't look like traditional deputy uniforms.
The video shows the 17-year-old tried to run but was caught by a deputy.
The teen's family said it was a violent struggle that crossed a line.
"The force was excessive and brutal from the start,” said Beth Aires, the family’s lawyer. “They didn't identify themselves to the individual, who was 17 years old and terrified."
Aires is with NeJame Law, the firm representing the family.
"I think it's outrageous conduct," said Mark NeJame.
NeJame told Channel 9 that deputies were serving a warrant on a 30-year-old man.
In the report, Nye said the teen refused to give deputies his arm as they tried to handcuff him.
Nye said he thought the teen might be reaching for a weapon, so he kneed the teen three times.
The teen was charged with resisting arrest with violence.
Nye wrote in a report that it was later determined that the teen wasn’t the suspect they sought.
"They were serving a warrant,” Aires said. “They should have identified themselves and should have made sure they had the right guy."
Charges against the teen were dropped.
Before he was hired by Orange County, Nye had spent time with the Tavares Police Department.
Channel 9 learned that Nye was repeatedly disciplined during his less than one year on the force.
Only 32 days after Tavares hired him in 2004, he was in trouble for crashing his patrol car into a stump. He was warned that further problems could lead to his termination.
In 2005 he was disciplined again for walking into a Mount Dora bank while off duty in plain clothes with his "duty weapon in the open-carry position."
Later he was disciplined for pursuing a driver accused of running a stop sign while he had a ride-along civilian in the car.
"You never get into a police pursuit with a civilian in the car with you," said WFTV police expert Chuck Drago.
According to records, the next month, Nye was disciplined for leaving his unlocked patrol car running with weapons still inside.
In September of that same year, Florida Highway Patrol troopers determined that Nye was speeding in his patrol car – going 90 mph in a 45-mph zone – just before he slammed into another vehicle. He was fired from the Tavares Police Department.
A short time later, he was hired by Altamonte Springs police. His records was spotless during his two years at the agency. He was later hired by the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
"That is an awful lot of counseling and discipline for an officer in his first year. That's huge," Drago said. "It's too big of a risk in my mind to take a risk on an officer like that."
When the hiring staff at OCSO put Richard Nye on the payroll, records show they were well-aware of his past issues as a Tavares police officer.
“I would be very concerned about those violations in his probationary year,” Drago said. “I don't see any indication where they questioned or did any further background check or investigation into the other violations that he had during that short period of time with Tavares."
The incidents come to light as Nye is involved in three cases where residents claim he used excessive force.
In a Sheriff's Office evaluation from 2008, a supervisor suggested Nye take responsibility for his actions after a number of citizen complaints.