A video of a dramatic arrest on St. Pete Beach Sunday afternoon has ricocheted around the Internet, racking up more than 3 million views in less than 48 hours.
A Pinellas County Sheriff's Deputy, Sgt. Bryan Bingham, is seen grabbing one man by the neck and slamming him to the sand. While on the ground handcuffing that suspect, another man steps in, and Bingham pushes him away.
A crowd of beachgoers quickly gathers as a sunny afternoon at the start of Spring Break turns wild with people shouting and kicking sand on the suspect and deputy. Bingham later grabs the other man around the throat and pins him to the ground as well.
The video ends before any other deputies arrive, and the Sheriff's Office is reviewing it, but spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda said no formal investigation had been launched as of Monday night. The scene was recorded by an onlooker who later posted the footage on Facebook.
Barreda said the altercation took place near the Postcard Inn. Joshua McMahan and Justin Lewis, both 25, of St. Petersburg, face charges of felony battery on a law enforcement officer and misdemeanor disorderly conduct (brawling).
Bingham wrote in arrest reports that he was flagged down while working an off-duty detail for Spring Break at the Postcard Inn. There was a big fight happening on the beach with as many as 10 to 15 people involved, according to the reports. While pulling two people apart, Bingham wrote, McMahan punched him in the arm.
That's when, according to the report, Bingham took McMahan to the ground. Bingham wrote that he used force and detained Lewis after the latter tried to push the deputy off his friend.
Barreda said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri plans to address the incident Wednesday afternoon.
She said Sgt, Bingham has been with the Sheriff's Office since August 1999.