FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Two Fort Pierce police officers were arrested and are in custody after one is seen on video hitting a person in their custody several times.
Albert Eckrode was arrested for felony battery, official misconduct, and false report of commission of crime, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, who investigated the incident. FDLE also arrested Monica Frederic for false report of commission of crime.
The Fort Pierce Police Department asked FDLE to investigate the allegations about unlawful use-of-force by one of their officer against a person being held at a Fort Pierce hospital. Members of FPPD reported the incident on February 20 to their supervisors, FDLE said. Two Fort Pierce police officers have turned themselves in connection with a criminal assault incident on a suspect at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center.
Officer Albert Eckrode, a four-year employee, turned himself in Thursday night, while Officer Monica Frederic, a one-year employee, turned herself in early Friday in connection with the Feb. 20 incident.
During a news conference Friday afternoon, Fort Pierce Police Chief Diane Hobley-Burney said officers encountered a man who was “intoxicated and combative” and took him to the hospital, where he continued to make “threats and racial slurs” at the officers, “particularly Officer Frederic,” and hospital staff.
After the man ignored Eckrode’s orders to stop, Eckrode “slapped and punched” him, Hobley-Burney said.
“So that we’re perfectly clear here, this was not a use-of-force situation,” she told reporters. “This was a criminal act.”
Surveillance video of the incident showed the man sitting in a reclining chair in a room with Eckrode, Frederic and another officer. One of the officers, identified as Eckrode, could be seen pushing the man before punching him several times.
Fort Pierce officers arrested for incident at hospital https://t.co/WIsTaEpKzx
— WPBF 25 News (@WPBF25News) June 6, 2020
At Lawnwood Regional Medical Center, the safety and care of our patients is our top priority,” hospital spokeswoman Tiffany Woods said in a statement. “An incident occurred in February at our hospital involving a patient and police. After review of the incident, Lawnwood administrators contacted the Fort Pierce Police Department and we have been assisting them in their investigation. Additional information regarding the incident should come from the Fort Pierce Police Department. We are committed to doing what is best for our patients and we do not condone any actions or behaviors that do not support the health and well-being of our patients.”
An independent investigation conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement determined that Eckrode violated the law, Hobley-Burney said.