A Sarasota cop will be placed on administrative leave after a drunken altercation with his son and a flight attendant at the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport.
Officer Derrick Gilbert, 51, was set to catch a flight to Greensboro, North Carolina, but his behavior became an issue for flight attendants, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
Gilbert has been an officer with the Sarasota Police Department for 21 years. In 2012, he was accused of slamming a homeless man’s head into a wall, according to 10News WTSP. He is currently assigned to the department’s Patrol Division.
Allegiant Airlines staff said Gilbert was slurring his words, had glassed-over eyes and looked confused. The airline has a zero-tolerance rule for intoxicated passengers and asked him to exit the plane around 6:30 p.m. Friday.
That’s when Gilbert began cursing at airline employees and refusing to return to the terminal, according to the sheriff’s office. Witnesses said he pushed a 25-year-old employee and violently shoved his 18-year-old son, who was trying to convince Gilbert to leave the plane. He also grabbed his son by the neck “in an angry manner,” deputies said.
About 133 passengers were waiting for the flight to take off when the altercation occurred, according to the sheriff’s office.
When deputies arrived, Gilbert refused to leave and told them he couldn’t be arrested because he’s a police officer. He was arrested and charged with one count of trespassing, one count of battery and one count of domestic battery. He is being held on bond totaling $1,400.
Sarasota Police are aware of the situation and Police Chief Bernadette DiPino announced that Gilbert will be placed on administrative leave with pay after he is released from jail. He will also be subject to an Internal Affairs investigation.
“We hold our officers to the highest standard of both professionalism on and off duty. I’ve instructed our Internal Affairs Division to conduct a thorough investigation,” DiPino said in a statement. “We will diligently investigate this incident per our policies.”
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office investigation is ongoing.