You know a cop is bad news when his fellow cops report him for his abusive behavior.
But that is what it took to arrest Jacksonville police officer Tim James last year after he beat a handcuffed 17-year-old boy named Elias Campos in the back of a patrol car.
Although the arrest took place last year, the state attorney’s office did not release video from the incident until today.
James, a four-year veteran of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, is facing one count of misdemeanor battery. He has been on desk duty since the June 2017 arrest.
The video shows James stepping out of his patrol car, which was parked at a gas station, then making his way to the rear passenger’s door where he began punching the teen before yanking him out and body slamming him.
James claimed the teen had spit on him, but that is what he claimed in a previous incident where he severely beat another man – only for a video to surface that the cop was the one doing the spitting.
James also claimed a man had spit on him in a 2016 arrest in which he beat him as well.
And anybody who covers police abuse knows that cops frequently claim they were spat upon to justify beating that person because barring video evidence, it is almost impossible to disprove.
Last year, James also struck a man with his patrol car, killing him, in an incident which the department tried to pass off as a suicide, only to be proven wrong by surveillance video. It was his third collision in a patrol car.
Then there was the time he bragged on Facebook on several occasions about loving his job because it gave him the opportunity to beat people.
It got so bad that even the local media was demanding to know what would it take to fire James, who was hired in 2014, racking up more than a dozen complaints before he was arrested in June 2017.
Last year after James’ arrest, First Coast Media published a pair of articles with the following headlines:
Prior to James’ arrest, he was able to get away with his abuse because like many dirty cops, they would protect him or just slap him on the wrist.
In November 2015, James was responding to a all of a man who had overdosed on heroin. James claimed he was able to revive him, but when he did, Mitchell Hall became combative.
According to the Florida Times-Union:
Hall became “verbally abusive and physically combative” when James tried to have him transported to the hospital, according to James. When James was trying to escort Hall out of the residence, Hall “pulled his arm away from me, bladed his body and tensed his muscles,” the report said.
“Mr. Hall spit at me but missed and attempted to throw a punch at me,” James wrote in the report. “I pushed Mr. Hall into the doorway, knocking him off balance, grabbed his arms and took him to the ground.”
Hall sustained abrasions on his forehead from the altercation, the report said.
Police charged Hall with resisting an officer with violence, possession of drug paraphernalia and less than 20 grams of marijuana. The marijuana charge was dropped. Hall pleaded guilty to the other charges and was sentenced to six months in county jail, according to court records.
In 2016, James was reprimanded for violating the department’s social media policy by bragging about beating citizens on the clock.
According to First Coast News:
A JSO supervisor found five posts by James between Jan. 27 and Feb. 16, 2016 that were deemed in violation. One problematic Facebook post from January 2016 read:
“Someone just learned a hard lesson about showing your a– in Jacksonville. 3 felonies 2 misdemeanors and an a–whooping to boot. Lol. I love my job.”
Another from Feb. 2016 read:
“Yep It’s that kinda night already. Someone’s getting a size 13 boot to the a– tonight. I can feel it.”
In the last post flagged by JSO supervisors, dated Feb. 16, 2016, James complained about questions he received while working at a road construction site. “If you ask me “can I go this way” I’m going to drag your a– out of your car through your window and monkey stomp you! #realtalk,” said the post.
Out of 11 closed complaints against the officer during his three-year career, seven were sustained as credible and four were exonerated or not sustained. Both civilians and fellow officers filed the complaints.
In one sustained 2015 complaint, James was found to have “not been wholly truthful” to his supervisor when he was questioned three times about whether a female officer had been inside his police car.
In the April 2017 incident where he beat and arrested a 21-year-old man named Daniel Nyman, whom he claimed had spit on him, his wife, who is also a cop, provided witness statements in his defense, which is hardly an objective witness.
Then in May 2017, James struck and killed a 62-year-old man named Blane Lane, claiming Lane had stepped in front of him in what appeared to be a suicide.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office maintained that lie until a family lawyer obtained surveillance video four months later showing James had plenty of time to either brake or swerve around Lane. Lane’s family is now suing.
So by the time James beat 17-year-old Elias Campos in the back of a patrol car in June 2017, it appears as if even his own colleagues had grown tired of his abuse because it was an unidentified sergeant who reported James for beating the teen, leading to his arrest that same day.
But now the question is, as it always has been, what does it take to get this bully with a badge off the streets?