Live Oak —
A Suwannee County Sheriff’s Deputy is under investigation following a complaint filed by the Suwannee County Branch of the NAACP for allegedly using “excessive physical force” against a local citizen. Deputy Kyle Descarreaux is accused of beating a Live Oak man following an arrest, which reportedly caused several broken bones in the jaw.
Sheriff Tony Cameron said his office is looking into the matter.
According to a SCSO report, on Sept. 15, 2013, at approximately 10:30 p.m., Michael Lewis Butler, 51, Live Oak, was found on the property at S&P in Houston. Butler was advised on Sept. 1, 2012, that he was not to come back to the property at anytime. As Butler was placed into handcuffs, he became combative and snatched away from Descarreaux. At that time, Descarreaux took Butler to the ground, causing a minor cut to his chin, according to a report. Butler then stopped all resisting and complied with orders. Butler was transported to Shands Live Oak Regional Medical Center for treatment and then transported to the Suwannee County Jail without further incident.
Butler was charged with trespassing in a structure or conveyance and resisting arrest with violence. The charge of resisting with violence was reduced by the State Attorney’s Office to a misdemeanor of resisting without violence on Sept. 20, 2013. Butler stood before a Suwannee County Jury on Dec. 9, 2013 and was found not guilty of resisting without violence.
In a letter dated Dec. 20, to Sheriff Tony Cameron, NAACP President Lesley White recalled the incident, which he wrote occurred at 8:30 p.m. White wrote, “The victim was sitting down on the curb outside the store with his hands cuffed behind his back when Deputy Descarreaux viciously and repeatedly smashed Mr. Butler’s neck, face, and jaw with his knee.”
Butler submitted a letter to Cameron, dated Dec. 20, which stated, “Your deputy (Descarreaux) handcuffed me and while I was sitting on the curb at the store on Hwy. 90 East in Houston kicked me in my jaw several times.”
The NAACP reported after the incident, Descarreaux allegedly entered the store and asked the clerks if a security camera was aimed where the alleged beating had just occurred.
Butler wrote since the incident, he has had surgery twice on his jaw to repair several broken bones.
“I have had 2 surgeries and according to my doctor, I can expect at least 2 more surgeries to repair the damage to my jaw,” Butler wrote. “They are not certain if it can be repaired.”
The NAACP has asked Cameron to terminate Descarreaux as a result of his behavior.
“You are now on notice of Deputy Descarreaux’s behavior,” White wrote. “We ask you, as Sheriff of Suwannee County, to investigate this matter immediately and take appropriate action to discipline and terminate this officer who has behaved in a way that undermines the reputation of the entire Suwannee County Sheriff’s Department and its leadership.”
According to Cameron, Descarreaux has been placed under investigation, but will continue to perform his duties with the SCSO until further notice.
“The individual has given us several different stories as to what happened that night,” Cameron said. “We have not found anything to substantiate the evidence at this point.”