Florida Woman Sentenced to Hold Sign "I Battered Police Officer"

| by DeepDiveAdmin

A Florida woman who pushed a police officer paid for her crime in a very public way -- she had to stand in front of the police station with a sign, letting everyone who passed know what she did.

Alexandra Espinosa-Amaya was celebrating her birthday in November 2008 in a bar in Orlando, when she tied a balloon around her wrist. For some reason that was enough to get her and her sister kicked out of the bar.

Sgt. Andrew Brennan was in the bar that night. He was off-duty but still in uniform. According to the police report, Brennan saw the bouncer escorting two "combative" women out of the bar. He came over to help, and told the women to leave.

That's when Espinosa-Amaya pushed Brennan in the face with her palm, knocking off his glasses. He forced her to the ground and handcuffed her. Her sister, Natalia kicked Brennan, the report said.

Espinosa-Amaya said she wouldn't have pushed Brennan if she knew he was a police officer, but she claims she had no idea. Looking at the police officer's uniform he was wearing might have given her a clue.

In July, Natalia pleaded no contest to misdemeanor battery on a law-enforcement officer without violence and battery. She was sentenced to a year of probation and 50 hours of community service.

But since Espinosa-Amaya started the whole thing, she was treated more harshly. Her no contest plea was to two misdemeanor charges -- simple battery and resisting an officer without violence. She must also complete two years on probation, write a letter of apology, perform 50 hours of community service and attend an anger-management class.

And then there is the sign. Brennan wanted a unique sanction against his attacker. So the judge came up with the sign idea.

"The officer that was battered asked for this disposition because he wanted to bring awareness to the fact that officers from this agency and others are battered on a regular basis, often causing severe injury and/or medical retirements," Orlando Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Barbara Jones said.

So for four hours on Tuesday, Espinosa-Amaya paraded outside of the police station with a homemade sign that read, "I battered a police officer. I was wrong. I apologize." Some people drove by and waved. One driver stopped to take a picture of her.

"It's humiliating, and it doesn't teach me anything," Espinosa-Amaya said before she headed to the police station. "But if Officer Brennan is happy and feels a little better, I'll do it."

When she was done, Espinosa-Amaya said she just wanted to shred her sign and move on with her life.

(Photo: George Skene, Orlando Sentinel)