POLK CITY – A corrections officer who works at the Polk Correctional Institute, a state prison in Polk City, is no longer supervising inmates, but was temporarily housed among them.
Johnny Tucker, 28, was placed under arrest and charged with one count of domestic violence, then put in the Polk County Jail. He posted bond and was released on Tuesday.
He was arrested after a witness said he saw Tucker climb on top of his wife as she was lying on North Combee Road, and then pull her up to her feet by her hair. Both Tucker and his wife told the arresting officer, Deputy Sheriff Stephen Harris, that he did not hurt her.
According to the police affidavit, a man and his wife were driving south on North Combee Road in Lakeland on Monday around 6 p.m. when they were forced to stop because there was a white Jeep Liberty parked just ahead, blocking the roadway.
The witnesses said they watched as the passenger side door of the Jeep opened, and a woman fall out onto the road. They reported that a man later identified as Tucker climbed out of the passenger side of the Jeep, then fell on top of the woman, later identified as his wife.
The witnesses said they saw Tucker sit on top of his wife, with his forearm on her neck. The woman was screaming, they later told Polk deputies.
The driver got out of his car and approached the couple, at which time Tucker picked the woman up by her hair and pushed her back into the passenger seat of the car, Harris wrote in his report. Tucker then got back into his car and drove south on Combee.
“The witnesses wrote down the vehicle tag number and called Polk County Sheriff’s Office with a description of the man and woman, the vehicle, and the tag number,” noted Carrie Eleazer, the public information officer for the sheriff’s office. “Deputies ran the tag number of the Jeep and responded to the home where it was registered, which is the home of Johnny Tucker. Deputies observed the Jeep matching the witnesses’ description and the tag number parked in the driveway.”
Harris noted in his report that it was the wife who answered the door, and that upon making contact with her, “It was obvious she had been crying and was upset.”
But the woman would not come outside, the deputy noted. The woman “would only stand in the doorway with the door half open,” he wrote. “The victim stated she and the suspect were only arguing and that he did not touch her.”
At that point Tucker came outside, and told the deputy that he and his wife had just come from the North Combee Road area, and were having a “verbal argument,” according to Harris’ report.
“The suspect denied stopping in the roadway or touching the victim in any way,” Harris wrote.
But after getting sworn written statements from the two witnesses, Harris wrote that he felt he had “probable cause to believe the suspect pushed and pulled the victim by her neck and her hair against her will during an argument.”
Harris noted that while speaking with Tucker’s wife, “I did not observe any visible injuries on the victim, however she would not come outside so I could get a better look at her.”
Based on the witness testimony, Tucker was placed under arrest and transported him to the Polk County Jail on one count of Battery Domestic Violence.
Tucker is a state corrections officer employed by the Florida Department of Corrections.
“He is not an employee of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office,” Eleazer noted.
The Polk Correctional Institute, run by the Florida Department of Corrections, is located off County Road 557-A on Evans Road in Polk City. This prison was established in 1978 to house adult male inmates and is also responsible for the Polk Work Camp and Largo Road Prison.
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