A pair of Monroe County, Fla., deputies were suspended after they were jailed early Saturday morning following a brawl with a trio of U.S. Navy sailors in Key West, reports said.
Deputies Connor Curry, 23, and Trevor Pike, 25, were both charged with disorderly conduct, along with two of the sailors.
Pike, however, faces an additional charge of felony battery for striking sailor James Black, 27, while Curry was pushing him, causing Black to fall to the ground and strike his head.
The injury was significant enough that Black had to be airlifted from Key West to a Miami hospital, Kendall Regional Medical Center, where he is “suffering a brain bleed and loss of consciousness,” police told the Miami Herald. His condition was not clear as of Sunday.
Also arrested for disorderly conduct were Angel Low, 26, and Jose Bejar Jr., 22, police said. It’s not clear if Black has been charged. The four were locked up at the detention center on Stock Island, the Herald reported.
Pike told police officers that Bejar was across a street from him when the two started to exchange words, which was followed by the fight in a section of Key West popular for its nightlife offerings. Sheriff’s Office spokesman Adam Linhardt told the Herald he had no idea what the argument was about.
Key West police said officers were in the vicinity of the 600 block of Duval St., the city’s most notable, around 1:45 a.m. when they heard men challenging each other to a brawl. The Herald reported that officers rolled up outside a Walgreens to see a number of men “grabbing at, striking and pulling at one another,” one office wrote in an arrest report.
“This event happened very fast and escalated as I began walking towards the disturbance,” the officer noted in his report.
Officers said they witnessed Pike slug Black in the face as Curry was pushing him, which caused the sailor to topple over backward and hit his head.
Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay noted in a statement following the confrontation that he was suspending his deputies without pay, adding that he is “saddened by this incident, and it will be fully investigated.”
Key West police said that all of the men smelled of liquor, slurred their speech, and had bloodshot eyes. They also noted that at first, it appeared as though Pike was defending himself after being “ganged up on.”
However, officer bodycam showed that the deputy “struck James on my approach, stepped back only briefly, then struck with malice instead of separating and allowing officers on scene to take control of the conflict,” according to the report.
All three sailors are part of a squadron visiting Key West Naval Air Station, though they are stationed in Virginia Beach.
“They were sailors attached to a squadron here for training,” said NAS spokeswoman Trice Denny.
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