Osceola jury convicts deputy in battery of patient handcuffed to hospital bed

An Osceola County sheriff's deputy, who was suspended following allegations he struck a patient who was handcuffed to a hospital bed, has been convicted by a jury of battery.

In May 2021, Deputy Sinclair responded to a call for service in reference to a man who was violating a domestic violence injunction. While being transported to jail, the man who was in custody began to hit his head against the metal partition creating an injury to his head, according to the Osceola County Sheriff's Office. As a result of the injury, Deputy Sinclair took him to the hospital. At the hospital, the man became further agitated and "exhibited signs of a mental illness," investigators said.

The man was cuffed to the bed in the emergency room while waiting to be taken to a mental health facility.  A heated verbal exchange took place between the victim and Deputy Sinclair which escalated into a physical altercation, according to investigators. 

"During the altercation Deputy Sinclair walked over to the bed and pointed his finger, touching the victim’s face. After being touched, the victim pushed Deputy Sinclair’s hand away. As a result, Deputy Sinclair struck the victim several times," the sheriff's office said.

Osceola sheriff's detectives conducted a criminal investigation into Sinclair's actions, and it was determined there was probable cause that he committed a battery. The case was then sent to the State Attorney’s Office which formally charged Sinclair with one count of battery. 

The trial concluded on Wednesday with a guilty verdict.

Deputy Sinclair had been placed on leave without pay pending the outcome of the criminal trial. The sheriff’s office has started the termination process. 

Sinclair was hired by the Osceola County Sheriff's Office in March 2019.