Cops Gone Wild Caught on Tape

This is a rush transcript from "The Big Story With John Gibson and Heather Nauert," February 13, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

JULIE BANDERAS, GUEST CO-HOST: It is the Big Outrage. There are good cops and, unfortunately, there are also bad cops. Luckily though, some of the bad cops have just been caught on tape in action.

JOHN GIBSON, CO-HOST: You got to see some shocking footage that has all of America talking today. One incident involves the abuse of a man who is paralyzed. "Big Story" correspondent Douglas Kennedy just spoke to that man and has the jaw-dropping story for us. Douglas.

DOUGLAS KENNEDY, BIG STORY CORRESPONDENT: Yes John and Julie. It sure is jaw dropping. And you know you should stop being a cop when you start picking on the paralyzed. The victim in this case told me it was a policeman's power trip, pure and simple.


DOUGLAS KENNEDY, BIG STORY CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In "The Big Lebowski" the other Lebowski gets challenged on his claim that he's a paraplegic. And gets dumped out of his wheelchair in a scene that turns comedy intro tragedy.

But it was all tragedy at the Hillsborough County jail in Florida, when a sheriff's deputy did the exact same thing to quadriplegic, Brian Sterner.

KENNEDY (on camera): What were you thinking when you felt the wheelchair moving?


KENNEDY (voice over): Sterner was at the jail for failing to stop of after an alleged traffic incident back in 2007. He's been a quadriplegic for over 14 years. A fact he says he tried to explain to the deputy when she asked him to stand for a strip search.

KENNEDY (on camera): How many times did you tell her that you couldn't walk?

STERNER: At least two or three. When it happens, I'm on the ground and I'm thinking, I don't want to get charged with resisting arrest, so, that's why I kind of went limp in the video. And you see my arms above my head, and then, she's like frisking me or whatever.

KENNEDY (voice over): It is just one of a string of incidents of police brutality that have now appeared on YouTube.


KENNEDY: This recently posted phone video shows an irate cop manhandling a 14-year-old skateboarder -

RIVIERI: Sit down on the ground

KENNEDY: Then berating him, verbally.

RIVIERI: Obviously your parents don't put a foot in your butt quite enough. Because you don't understand the meaning of respect.

KENNEDY: Officer Salvatore Rivieri, a 17-year veteran of the Baltimore police force is now the subject of an internal investigation. In the Sterner case, the deputy and three other supervisors have been suspended, pending an investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The best I can do is offer him ... our apologies.

KENNEDY: It's an apology Sterner's lawyers don't think he would have gotten without the proliferation of videotape.

KENNEDY (on tape): What do you want to have happen here?

JOHN TREVANA, STERNER'S ATTORNEY: Well, I think a spotlight needs to be shed on abuses that are going on, I believe, in both prisons and jails throughout the country. And if it's not on video, they are quickly dismissed.

KENNEDY: Sterner says he would like to see the officer brought up on assault charges. He says they are obviously looking into a civil suit. And with video evidence like that John and Julie, he probably has a case.

GIBSON: Douglas, cops gone wild. So what happens now? Do these guys keep their jobs? Well, one of them was a woman. What happened?

KENNEDY: You know, they're all on administrative leave. The problem with this guy is he has no feeling from his chest down so even if he was seriously injured, he would not — he may not be able to know it. So they are going to do some medical tests on him. But they say the sheriff is very sympathetic and they're hoping to do it without going to court.

BANDERAS: Oh yeah right. They're going to court.

GIBSON: Douglas Kennedy, thank you.

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