TAMPA — The Hillsborough County 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, had satisfactory annual reviews and a commendation for perfect work attendance in 2006. "He is an eager and energetic deputy," Lt. Scott Smith wrote in a 2007 evaluation.
Sheriff David Gee ordered a criminal investigation after Wednesday's attack was reported by another deputy. Spencer charged inside the cell of Sean Walker, 16, and pummeled him, sheriff's officials said. Other deputies restrained Spencer and took the teen to have a 1-inch gash on the back of his head examined. Doctors determined it was not a 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.
In January, jailhouse video captured an inmate being dumped out of his wheelchair by a deputy. The pictures earned the jail widespread notoriety.
Three people were dismissed or resigned following an internal investigation. An independent panel ordered by Sheriff David Gee to look into jail operations called the incident an anomaly.