Broward Sheriff fires deputy accused of placing knee on man’s neck

Sheriff Gregory Tony said Friday Deputy Ronald Thurston was fired over an excessive force incident involving a disarmed suspect in 2020.

During the investigation of his actions, Thurston said, “I probably would have killed him right there, and we wouldn’t be sitting here talking about it,” according to Tony.

On April 1, 2020, Thurston was at the 100 block of San Remo Boulevard in North Lauderdale when he pulled his gun and threatened to shoot a man who then got on the ground face down.

“At that point, Thurston had every opportunity to de-escalate the situation, yet he chose not to. Thurston kept his knee on the man’s neck, even after he expressed discomfort and asked Thurston to remove his knee,” Sheriff Gregory Tony said in a statement released on Friday.

After deputies disarmed the man and handcuffed him, Thurston struck him with his forearm, slamming the man’s head into a BSO vehicle, Tony said.

Internal Affairs and BSO Public Corruption Unit detectives turned their case findings over to the Broward State Attorney’s Office on Sept. 22, 2020, according to Tony.

The Broward State Attorney’s Office declined to file criminal charges against Thurston. BSO’s Professional Standards Committee recommended a three-day suspension.

“It’s clear from the video and the entire investigation conducted by BSO, Thurston acted in a manner outside the bounds of proper and effective law enforcement and should be terminated,” Tony said.

Related record: Thurston’s employee history

Broward Sheriff’s Office employee history for Ronald Thurston

Related document on internal affairs investigation

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