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Pinellas jail deputy loses job over slapping incident

A Pinellas County Jail deputy who slapped a female inmate and later lied about it was fired Friday after an internal investigation, sheriff's officials said.

Deputy Elizabeth Kretzer also may face criminal charges, pending a review by prosecutors, officials said.

Kretzer, 40, was supervising the distribution of breakfast trays to female inmates on Dec. 23. One inmate, whose identity was not revealed in an administrative report, tried to collect an extra tray from Kretzer, who denied her request.

The deputy and the inmate argued before Kretzer stepped away. When she turned her back, the inmate raised her middle finger.

Kretzer ordered the inmate into a vestibule area and asked the inmate to repeat the gesture, which she did, officials said.

Kretzer grabbed the shoulder of the inmate's sweatshirt, causing her to stumble into the deputy and bounce off her body. Kretzer then dragged the inmate into a private visitation room, officials said.

In a report, Kretzer described what happened next as her attempt to explain the feeding process to the inmate, officials said. But an internal report said the ensuing exchange was "enraged and boisterous."

Kretzer slapped the inmate on the side of her head, officials said. She later claimed that she did so because the inmate had grabbed her shirt, a claim that investigators said was a lie.

Witness testimony and recorded sound from the housing unit contradicted Kretzer's account of the incident, officials said. When confronted by investigators, the deputy admitted that she "left a lot of details out," the report said.

Kretzer had worked for the Sheriff's Office since 1999.

Pinellas jail deputy loses job over slapping incident 06/14/13 [Last modified: Saturday, June 15, 2013 12:59am]
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