9 Investigates ex-deputy in excessive force case hired as Ocoee officer

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A former Orange County Sheriff's Office deputy who was fired for excessive force is now working elsewhere as a police officer, WFTV has learned.

Jeff Iannuzzi was fired from the Orange County Sheriff's Office in 2010, but was later hired at the Ocoee Police Department.

Ocoee city leaders defended their decision. Sources told WFTV reporter Shannon Butler that Iannuzzi is a nice guy, but has had some anger issues during arrests.

He was sworn in two weeks ago. They did not address his past firing, but said he is qualified for what he is doing now.

A little more than four years ago, Brandyn Reynolds told WFTV that Iannuzzi slammed his head into a patrol car and tried to choke him.

"He was just rough, like trying to rough me up the whole time for no reason," said Reynolds.

Reynolds filed the complaint that launched an excessive force investigation on Iannuzzi.

"He tried to bounce my head like a basketball three or four times," said Reynolds.

The sheriff's office fired Iannuzzi saying he not only used excessive force, but lied.

Ianuzzi was an Ocoee police officer before going to the sheriff's office.

Sources said during his time at Ocoee PD, Iannuzzi had some internal investigations concerning arrests, but they were all cleared.

The Ocoee city manager said, "The chief and I both felt that his years of experience and training certifications would be advantageous to the department in a reserve capacity.  A check with FDLE showed he is certified and eligible for the reserve position."

However, the issue is not only public perception, but given the officer's history, any arrest he makes could come into question.

"This is problematic. The department has been put on notice about the officer. This will cause issues for every criminal case and even could bring [issues] on civil cases," said WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer.

Iannuzzi will work 20 hours a month. The city manager said he will work in an investigative and administrative capacity. He will have a badge and gun.