Home News St. Lucie County Sheriff’s deputy appeals firing after child abuse arrest

St. Lucie County Sheriff’s deputy appeals firing after child abuse arrest

St. Lucie County Sheriff’s deputy appeals firing after child abuse arrest

ST. LUCIE COUNTY − A St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Deputy was fired as an internal investigation sustained findings of committing a felony and violating ethics and conduct standards, according to recently-released records and a sheriff’s official.

Deputy Angel Torres, a court services deputy, was fired in December following the internal affairs investigation, though he requested a hearing before a five-member career service board, which can overturn discipline including termination, according to Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Brian Hester.

The internal case began after Torres, who joined the agency in October 2005, was arrested on a cruelty towards child abuse without great bodily harm charge in connection with a July 2022 incident. The charge is a third degree felony.

Records show Torres was accused of striking a child identified as the victim in the back of the head with a fist.

Torres arrived in a vehicle at a location, the address of which is redacted but which was a public parking lot. Torres got out of the vehicle.

Eventually, the victim, whose age was redacted, got out and “appears to accidentally walk into Torres inadvertently causing his shoulder to bump into Torres,” records state.

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Torres then hit the back of the child’s head with a closed fist and appeared “to use substantial force.”

Sheriff’s officials saw surveillance footage and interviewed the victim, who said his head hurt for 5 minutes, and others in the case.

Torres said the child had been “totally disrespectful,” and that it was the first time he struck the individual.

“I wasn’t thinking, it, it just happened all of a sudden. It wasn’t something that I was thinking,” Torres is quoted as saying. “He just … it was not pre-planned, it was not intentionally to hurt him.”

He said he regretted the action.

The state Department of Children and Families was called for an investigation.

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A sheriff’s detective found probable cause to arrest Torres, and he was taken to jail, according to sheriff’s internal affairs records.

A sheriff’s official said via text that arrest records relating to the incident don’t exist.

Michelle Cavalcanti, communications manager at the St. Lucie County Clerk’s office, also could find no documents.

Florida law under some circumstances allows individuals to seal or expunge criminal records. When this occurs, the public does not have access to them. It is not known whether Torres took steps in this regard.

The internal investigation sustained charges related to three areas against Torres: commission of felony; code of ethics for public officers and employees; and conduct unbecoming.


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