Arrest Warrant: JSO corrections officer charged after fight with jet skiers

·3 min read

What started as verbal arguments turned into a physical fight and lead to a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office corrections officer shooting his gun into the ground in the middle of it all, according to a warrant.

Action News Jax is investigating JSO Corrections Officer Brandon Freeman after he was charged with battery and improper exhibition of a firearm.

Action News Jax learned from an arrest warrant that Freeman shot his gun three times into the ground while telling the alleged victims to back off in the midst of a fight.

“We were just riding, how I said, and they started cursing and throwing middle fingers and stuff like that. Saying ‘Come here and I will do this and I will do this and do that,” witness Sinan said.

The warrant says he started the physical fight that left one man with cuts on his face and a dislocated shoulder.

Investigators said it all stemmed from a group of jet skiers who they say splashed water onto Freeman and his friends, and some words were exchanged while they were on his boat along the Fort George River. About an hour later, the warrant says, the jet skiers parked on a sandbar nearby as Freeman was stuck in the water on the river, saying they continued the verbal argument.

Sinan, a witness in the group of alleged victims, said he didn’t see anybody splash water.

“I didn’t spray any water, I didn’t see anybody spray water,” he said. “We just stopped and I don’t know if they saw us or how it happened, but they swam to us trying to fight and they hit my friend and out of nowhere somebody with a gun started shooting.”

The warrant says Freeman jumped out of his boat and swam to the jet skiers and started the fight, where around the same time, Freeman’s friend handed him his gun and he shot three times into the ground, ordering the group to back away. After they backed off, the warrant says, Freeman and his friends continued to hit the person who was on the ground.

Randy Reep is a criminal defense attorney not affiliated with this case and says it doesn’t really matter how it all started.

“Shots were fired so the continuation of the physical altercation could continue and that’s a problem. So, who sprayed water first is not important in this case. When it became gunplay that’s when everything changed,” he said.

Reep said an argument could be made that charges could be bumped to felonies.

The warrant also says Freeman left the area and eventually returned to shore.

“They left and my friend was on the sand all blood and stuff like that,” Sinan said.

Action News Jax called several witnesses on Thursday who didn’t want to comment. When called again on Friday, they did not answer. Action News Jax also stopped by what we believe to be Freeman’s address, but there were several no trespassing and private property signs. When Action News Jax called a cellphone number believed to be his, it was either out of service or there were busy lines every time.

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