A Sarasota police officer is facing paid administrative leave after being arrested Friday night in Pinellas County after an alleged drunken incident at an airport.
Officer Derrick Gilbert, 51, was arrested about 6:30 p.m. at St. Pete-Clearwater Airport and charged with trespassing, domestic battery and battery. He was released Saturday after posting $1,400 bail.
Pinellas County deputies said when they got to the airport, Allegiant Airlines employees told them Gilbert had been asked to get off a flight because he appeared intoxicated.
Flight attendants explained they have a zero tolerance for intoxicated flyers and thought Gilbert was too intoxicated to fly, so they asked him to get off the plane, deputies said.
At first, Gilbert refused to leave the plane but they eventually convinced him to get off, law enforcement said.
Pinellas County deputies said they met Gilbert at the terminal and told him if he didn't leave the airport he would be arrested for trespassing. His response to that was he couldn't be arrested because he was a police officer in Sarasota, authorities said.
Witnesses told Pinellas County deputies Gilbert had intentionally pushed a 25-year-old Allegiant Airlines employee when he was getting off the flight.
Witnesses also said Gilbert pushed his son and grabbed him by the neck in an angry manner.
Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino says Gilbert was to be put on leave as soon as he was released from jail. An internal affairs investigation has begun.
"We hold our Officers to the highest standard of both professionalism on and off duty," said DiPino.
Gilbert is assigned to the patrol division.
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