A Florida police department fired one of its officers for strangling a 17-year-old boy, a restraint tactic reserved for extreme situations.
Brian Livernois, 43, a former officer with the Largo Police Department was fired on Tuesday, two months after a social media video titled, “White Largo Florida cop strangles a black teenager ,” showing him leaning the boy over the hood of a police squad car with his arms around his neck.
Largo Police Chief Jeffrey Undestad told Fox 13, “We are very proud of the positive relationship the Largo Police Department has with our community. Actions like these are unacceptable and violate the law. breach of public trust, which every employee has worked so hard to achieve. This situation warrants termination of the former officer’s contract.”
The teenager’s mother, Ann Arnold, said she cried “tears of joy” when she learned the officer had been fired.
According to a case report sent by the Largo Police Department to Yahoo Lifestyle, on April 4, Livernois responded to a phone call after a suspect (who appeared to be the child in the video) hit a woman and threatened to shoot someone.
As the video begins, Livernois can be heard saying, “Do you have a problem with me?” The teen imitated the question and the officer replied, “Yes, I agree.”
Would you like to fasten my seat belt, man? Livernois asked. According to the police report, when the officer asked the teenager to take his hands out of his pocket, he replied: “My hands are not in the pocket, they are in my shorts. Are you afraid?”
“I will lift you up,” Livernois replied. The report states that he also said, “You want to hang out with me?”
He pushed the boy into the car, his arms around his neck, and the boy’s friends shouted to let him go. Livernois said in the report that the teen behaved in an “aggressive manner” and that he wanted “to be compliant.” He also wrote that the boy was only strangled for “a second or two” and that he used “minimal force”.
Officer Livernois admitted in the police transcript that he did not attempt to calm the escalating situation. The investigation found him guilty of “Bullying, indecency or rudeness, which may include the use of obscene, abusive or offensive language or actions directed at others”. And that he soon performed a chokehold.
Yahoo Lifestyle was unable to reach the boy’s mother, Ann Arnold, for comment. “It hurt to watch that video, because I know my son,” she told Fox 13. “I just want justice.”
Arnold wants his son charged and the officer held accountable. “I feel he should be charged,” she told Fox 13. “And I’ll deal with this on my own if he’s not charged.”