THE THIN BLUE LINE
Pull the vehicle over, I’ll put you in the ground.
The mother, Ebony Washington, who is four months pregnant, told WJAX she and her four children were on their way home to Jacksonville from Gainesville when Bradford County Deputy Jason Desue tried to pull her over for speeding. She was going 75 miles per hour in a 55-mph zone, according to reports.
Washington said she was looking for a safe, well-lit place to pull over, and turned on her hazard lights and kept driving until she got to a convenience store. “It was dark and I was with my kids. I felt uncomfortable, and I didn’t want to be able to not have anyone else around,” she recalled.
Body camera video released by the sheriff’s office shows Desue follow her into the parking lot, get out of his patrol car and immediately point his gun at her van.
If you make a move that’ll be the last mistake you make.
“If you make a move that’ll be the last mistake you make. Do not move,” Desue told Washington. “I didn’t know he had a gun until I told him my seatbelt was still on and he said ‘get out. I have my gun. I’m not worried,’” the mother recalled.
After he ordered her to step out of the vehicle, Washington exited the van with her hands raised and tried to explain why she didn’t stop in time. “Your excuse means nothing to me right now,” Desue said.
“I’m trying to tell you the only reason why I didn’t stop,” she told him. “I’m a very educated woman with a master’s degree … I was only not because it’s dark out and I have three kids with me. I’m pregnant, and I did not want them to feel uncomfortable.”
“I don’t care about the why. Just shut up about the why. I don’t care about why.” Desue said.
“I don’t care about the why. Just shut up about the why. I don’t care about why.”
One of Washington’s children recorded video of the incident. The sheriff’s office said they saw the video on social media, leading them to pull the dashcam video of the incident. Smith said that as soon as the agency was made aware of the encounter, they took action.
“We knew that this was something that we had to take action on immediately,” Bradford County Sheriff Gordon Smith said. “We accepted his resignation. He’s no longer an employee of this agency.” Law enforcement reviewed the video and determined the incident was inappropriate and did not follow their policies.
Despite her treatment, Washington tells First Coast News she still partly blames herself. “None of this would’ve happened had I not been speeding…,” she says. “My husband always says… why you so in a rush?”
Sheriff Gordon Smith said Washington did the right thing in driving to a better lit area, and that’s what he would want his wife to do.