INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — Two current and one retired Philadelphia police officer were all arrested Tuesday night after a dispute among themselves turned into an altercation with a Pinellas deputy outside Crabby Bill's, according to the Sheriff's Office.
The alcohol-fueled dust-up started outside, where a married couple later identified as Paul Seeger and Cindy Caine were arguing, said Matthew Loder, owner of the restaurant at 401 Gulf Blvd. Caine is an officer with the Philadelphia Police Department and Seeger is a retired officer from that agency.
Caine, 44, tried to walk away, but Seeger, 55, blocked her path and pushed her, Loder said. Staffers from the restaurant intervened and asked if she was okay. Caine said she was, but Loder had the police called anyway, fearing an escalation.
"When people are clearly intoxicated, it's better to just go ahead and get the thing resolved," Loder said.
It was about 11 p.m. when a deputy arrived and saw the couple arguing near the intersection of Fourth Avenue N and First Street. When the deputy called out to them, the agency said, the pair started to walk away.
The deputy grabbed Seeger's arm to stop him from leaving. Seeger resisted the deputy, according to the Sheriff's Office, and Caine tried to push the arm away in an attempt to free Seeger.
Then a third man, Frank Bonett, 44, walked up. He is also a Philadelphia police officer, according to the Sheriff's Office. He removed his shirt, clenched his fists, and shouted profanities, deputies said. He also ignored repeated commands to stop aggressively approaching deputies.
Seeger then approached a deputy "in an angry and hostile manner," the agency said. The deputy attempted to use an electronic "control device" against Seeger, but it was ineffective.
The deputy then took Seeger to the ground, the agency said. A "violent struggle," ensued that ended with Seeger being handcuffed. Deputies also arrested Bonett and Caine.
The Sheriff's Office believes alcohol played a role in the incident. Bonett faces a charge of assault on a law enforcement officer and Caine a charge of battery on an officer. Seeger faces charges of domestic battery and resisting an officer with violence. The trio were booked into the Pinellas County jail and were all freed Wednesday after posting bail.
None could be reached for comment Thursday. A Philadelphia Police Department spokesman said the agency is looking into the incident. He declined to comment further.
The brawl had a personal connection for restaurant owner Loder, a Philadelphia native. He heard from several relatives in the area who said they saw his restaurant on the news.
Loder, 55, has lived in Florida since he was 4, but often visits his hometown and gave a nod to Philadelphia's tough-talking culture, which at times outweighs its claim of brotherly love.
"Those cops may not have a job when they get back home," he said, "but they're certainly never going to have to buy another drink up there."
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