A Florida sheriff's deputy who worked at a school for children with emotional and behavioral problems is facing a felony charge after video shows him slamming a female student to the ground after she tapped his knee with her foot.
Broward County Deputy Willard Miller, 38, was charged Tuesday with felony child abuse without great bodily harm in the altercation, which took place at Cross Creek School, in Pompano Beach, on September 25.
School security video shows Miller standing and texting inside an office at Cross Creek School when the 15-year-old female student walks behind him and uses her left foot to push the back of his right knee, causing it to buckle.
In the silent video, Miller can be seen speaking to the girl for just over a minute from about 10 feet away while two women watch the argument unfold.
He then suddenly walks toward the girl, grabs her throat and throws her to the ground.
Broward County Deputy Willard Miller, 38, was charged Tuesday with felony child abuse without great bodily harm altercation, which took place at Cross Creek School, in Pompano Beach, on September 25
Miller then flips her onto her stomach and puts a knee against her back and pulls her arms behind her. He then forcibly lifts her up using her pinned arms and throws her out of the room.
Sheriff Gregory Tony would not say what Miller and the girl said to each other after the knee tap, but he said nothing the girl said or did justified the 38-year-old deputy's actions.
'The byproduct of his actions were deplorable,' Tony said. 'They were uncalled for and they violated multiple policies just on the optics.
'I would hope that every cop in America would disagree with that type of response,' he continued.
Miller has been suspended without pay until internal disciplinary procedures are complete.
The incident is as at least the fourth time this year that a Broward deputy has been charged with using excessive force.
Two deputies are awaiting trial on misdemeanor charges after a teen was beaten and pepper-sprayed outside a McDonald's last spring. Last week, Tony fired a deputy who has been charged with slugging a suspect who was handcuffed to a hospital bed.
Tony replaced former Sheriff Scott Israel earlier this year after Israel was suspended by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who accused Israel of bungling the response to the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead. T
he Florida Senate last month upheld Israel's removal, overriding the recommendation of its investigator who said Israel's conduct had not warranted suspension.
Tony said Israel and his administration had allowed 'a culture where disciplinary actions weren't taken' against deputies who violated department standards. Tony and Israel are expected to face each other in next year's election.
'I am tired of it,' Tony said of actions like Miller's, saying it reflects poorly not just on his deputies, but on law enforcement officers nationwide. 'I'm going to fix it. I am going to hold people accountable. If I have to do this 15 more times, I am going to do it 15 more times.'
The Broward school district had no immediate comment on the arrest.
It couldn't be determined if Miller has an attorney. Tony said Miller had no previous disciplinary record during his three years of employment.