Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says Sgt. Bryan Bingham, who took down two men on a crowded beach Sunday in a now-viral brawl, was acting within department policies.
Sgt. Bryan Bingham “acted appropriately and within policy…closed matter,” Gualtieri told reporters.
“Sgt. Bingham did what he needed to do to protect himself and the others out there and he handled the situation extremely well given the circumstances,” the sheriff said. “We’re fortunate he wasn’t hurt and weren’t hurt as a result of their actions.”
“I acted instead of waiting,” Bingham said. “I went out there. I saw the primary two aggressors. Mr. McMahan was the closest one. I attempted to get him out of that situation and try and de-escalate it.”
“I used the best technique I had, which was to maintain control through pressure point technique,” Bingham said. “I applied that to his jawline and I was escorting him backwards and while I was doing that I was trying to tell him to calm down and relax.”
Still, some in the media criticized the deputy’s handling of the subjects as too harsh.
“Ever get the feeling that no matter what force we use someone is going to find fault with our split-second decisions?” says Jim Glennon, lead instructor for Calibre Press.
“The fact is that real force is a response to a violent act. Those who have never encountered true violence base their perspectives on video games, T.V. and movies. Police live in split second, evolving and dynamic circumstances. This officer was on an off-duty assignment when he responded to a call for help. Did you notice he was the only one of the hundreds willing to risk injury to stop these two?”
Not only did he do an outstanding job, he did it extremely well.