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Fla. cop drags mentally ill woman by her feet through courthouse

With shackles around her feet, Dasyl Jeanette Rios, who had just been declared mentally incompetent, screamed as a sheriff’s officer dragged her by her feet down the hallway of a Florida courthouse on Monday morning.

The incident was caught on video and sparked an investigation into the actions of Sheriff Deputy Christopher Johnson, the Sun Sentinel reported. “I am concerned by the way the deputy handled this situation, because there were other courses of action he could have taken,” Sheriff Scott Israel said in a statement. “Internal Affairs has initiated a complete and comprehensive investigation, and the deputy has been placed on restricted duty pending the outcome.”

“Stop! You’re hurting me! You’re f—— hurting me!” Rios screams in the opening of the video. “I hate my life! I wish they would kill me already! Why do I have to be alive?”

Johnson replies, saying that he gave her a chance. Rios: “You didn’t give nobody a chance. All I wanted to do was sob for a few minutes. Cry. I wanted to cry for a few minutes because my life is in your hands.”

The video was shot by attorney Bill Gelin, who happened to be in the hallway as the events unfolded. “This is really barbaric, and I’m just extremely disappointed,” he told WSVN. “We all work together in the court system, particularly in the criminal justice system, and this just gives everybody a black eye.”

But the video doesn’t show why Johnson felt compelled to restrain Rios in the first place.

The Sun Sentinel reported that Rios had just left court for a misdemeanor case and is also held without bond for violating probation and drug possession. According to one report, Assistant Public Defender Rhonda Boettcher said Rios was heard arguing with a female deputy in the courtroom after the hearing before Johnson intervened and escorted her to the hallway. “Once there,” Boettcher said “Rios sat on a bench and started to cry.”

Rios’s mother told WSVN that while she was in the hallway she told Johnson: “Please give me a minute. I just want to cry,'”

Johnson felt that Rios was “disturbing the public,” according to the Daily Beast. “Fearing she would cause a commotion in the public area, I then physically grabbed inmate Rios by her leg restraints and pulled her back to the D10-door,” Johnson stated in his report. In a supplemental report Deputy Anthony Pulitano added Johnson asked Rios two times if she would walk on her own.

“He basically picked up this girl, yanked her off the bench, and started dragging her through the hallway,”Assistant Public Defender Lynn DeSanti told the Sun Sentinel. “I said, ‘Stop it! What are you doing to her?’ But he just told her, ‘You don’t want to walk? I’m going to drag you.’ ”

Gelin told the Sun Sentinel: “The truly disgusting part is, during that entire breakdown, you can hear her telling them she’s mentally ill. There’s no excuse.”

Rios remains in jail without bond.