Daytona Beach Police Officer Larry Leon Jones was sentenced to only two years of probation on Tuesday after accepting a pre-trial agreement that also required him to surrender his law enforcement certificate.
The incident occurred on Feb. 10, 2015 when a 25-year-old woman called police to admit she had left the scene of a hit-and-run accident. She was promptly arrested by Jones and placed handcuffed in his patrol car.
Jones, 23, was told to take the woman to police headquarters but he stopped on the way and ordered her out of the vehicle. He then placed his hands on her breasts under her bra, according to police investigators.
The woman also accused Jones of rubbing her crotch and legs before pulling her pants and panties down in order to shine his flashlight on her vagina. The woman said Jones then changed her handcuffs from the back of her body to the front in an attempt to have a justification for why he had stopped.
According to investigators, a police GPS tracking system showed that Jones’ car stopped twice on the way to the station. That in itself was a violation of department policy and Jones resigned from his position on Feb. 24, 2015.
As a result of Tuesdays plea agreement, prosecutors reduced a felony false imprisonment charge against Jones to misdemeanor battery.
He entered no contest pleas to that misdemeanor battery charge and an additional one. The agreement prevents Jones from seeking any future law enforcement job and orders him not to have any further contact with his victim.
If Jones successfully completes his two years of probation, a felony charge against him of falsifying official records will be dismissed, as per the agreement.
A spokesman with the 7th Circuit State Attorney’s Office, Spencer Hathaway, said prosecutors reached the agreement after consulting with the victim and the Daytona Beach police department.
“I didn’t think the kid deserved to go to jail, but I also didn’t think he should ever be a police officer again,” Chief Mike Chitwood said. “He’s a young kid. He made a horrible mistake. He doesn’t belong in our agency. He doesn’t belong in any law enforcement agency.”
According to the 3rd Quarter Report of The National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project for 2010, police officers were accused of sexual assault at a rate of 79 per 100,000 law enforcement personal. The rate of accusations for the general public was 28.7 per 100,000.
When correcting for gender, the numbers show that there are 1.5 times more accusations of sexual assault among male law enforcement officers than among the general male population.
Originally published at Police State Daily.