Detention Deputy Termination

Who:
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
Department of Detention and Corrections
Professional Standards Bureau
- Administrative Investigation Division
Investigative Operations Bureau
- Robbery & Homicide Unit

Deputy James Moran (Arrested)
Age: 57
Date of Hire: 11/26/2012
Termination Effective: 04/23/2019
Charges: One count of Battery (misdemeanor)

Mario Christo (Victim Inmate- Uninjured)
DOB: 09/05/1987
Address: Transient
Inmate released from PCJ on 04/16/2019

What:
A detention deputy was arrested and terminated for battering an inmate at the Pinellas County Jail.

When:
The incident occurred on January 11, 2019.

The suspect was arrested and terminated on April 23, 2019.  

Where:
The incident occurred at the Pinellas County Jail located at 14400 49th Street North, in Clearwater.

Why/How:
A detention deputy was arrested and terminated for battering an inmate at the Pinellas County Jail.

On April 23, 2019, detectives from the Administrative Investigation Division received a complaint from 31-year-old Mario Christo, who was recently released as an inmate from the Pinellas County Jail.

Christo informed detectives that he was an inmate at the Pinellas County Jail on January 11, 2019, assigned to a work crew in the kitchen area of Central Division with several other inmates.

Christo said he was emptying the trash in the kitchen area when he found a cookie in the trash container and threw it to a bird that was sitting on top of the dumpster.

Deputy James Moran, a detention deputy assigned to Central Division at the Pinellas County Jail, was monitoring Christo’s work crew and witnessed someone throw the cookie.

Detectives say Deputy Moran used profanity and asked which inmate threw the cookie. Christo admitted he threw the cookie.

Using profanity, Deputy Moran directed Christo to “drop” and give him 50 push-ups. Christo complied, got into a push-up position, and completed over 20 push-ups before having to stop because he was tired.

Christo told detectives he was in a face-down push-up position on the ground when Deputy Moran walked over and kicked him for no apparent reason in the right side of his torso.

Christo said Deputy Moran told him to resume doing push-ups but Christo was too tired and he could not continue.

Christo said Deputy Moran forced him to remain in a face-down push-up position for almost two minutes before he was allowed to relax. 

Christo said he never reported the incident while he was an inmate at the jail for fear of retribution. No injury was ever reported as a result of the incident but Christo said his side hurt for several days.

Detectives say Christo was originally arrested by the St. Petersburg Police Department on July 25, 2018, charged with Disorderly Conduct, Resisting an Officer without Violence, and Resisting an Officer with Violence.

Christo was sentenced in October 2018, and was serving a 364 day sentence at the Pinellas County Jail when the incident occurred.

On April 16, 2019, Christo was released from the Pinellas County Jail for time served. Shortly after his release, Christo contacted the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and filed a complaint with the Administrative Investigation Division.

Detectives conducted an investigation into Christo’s complaint and obtained surveillance video of the incident. The surveillance video corroborated Christo’s allegations and clearly showed Deputy Moran batter the victim.

On April 23, 2019, detectives arrested Deputy Moran at the Sheriff’s Administration Building located at 10750 Ulmerton Road in Largo.

Moran was terminated from the Sheriff’s Office effective April 23, 2019.  

Moran was transported to the Pinellas County Jail and charged with one count of Battery (misdemeanor).

Video from the Sheriff’s press conference can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/uQbcArZ4kMM

The investigation continues.

Posted by Spencer Gross Tuesday, April 23, 2019 3:33:00 PM Categories: Crimes Against Persons

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