OKALOOSA ISLAND - Two Crestview Police officers have been arrested and suspended after an altercation with security and deputies at The Swamp nightclub early Thursday morning following a Ying Yang Twins concert.
Bryan Crawford, 26, was arrested for battery on a law enforcement officer and disorderly intoxication. His brother, Danny Crawford, 28, was arrested for resisting arrest with violence and disorderly intoxication, according to an Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office offense report.
Both men have been suspended from their duties without pay, pending the outcome of their criminal investigation. Their guns, badges and identification have been taken from them. The Crestview Police Department is also conducting an internal investigation.
"We have professional standards and if they didn't meet them, we'll deal with it," said Crestview Police Chief Brian Mitchell.
Just before 1 a.m., Okaloosa County Sheriff's deputies were called to the rear deck area of the Boardwalk where they found Bryan Crawford pacing and talking about defending "some girl," the report said.
Security at The Swamp told deputies they had escorted Bryan and Danny Crawford to the deck and asked them to leave after they caused a disturbance. The report said Bryan Crawford had been seen grabbing the crotch area of a female at the club. Security also told deputies that Bryan Crawford shoved the head of security and fought with the doorman as they attempted to remove him from the club.
A deputy took off Bryan's club wristband and told him he needed to leave, but Bryan refused to follow instructions. A friend said he'd take care of Bryan, but Bryan began speaking loudly and turned back towards the deputy and security staff.
The report said the deputy approached Bryan and took hold of his right arm to escort him away from the area, but Bryan shoved the deputy away and they began to struggle. Another deputy came to assist and they moved Bryan toward the deck railing. The railing gave way and the men fell onto the sand where Bryan continued to resist, the report said.
Bryan Crawford began to say repeatedly, "I'm a cop. I'm a cop." The report said before the deputies could get handcuffs on Bryan, his brother, Danny, grabbed Bryan's collar and tried to pull him away from the deputies.
After the deputies handcuffed Bryan, he said, "So this is what it feels like in handcuffs," adding again that he was a police officer.
The report said that both Crawfords were told to sit on the ground and they were "laughing and did not appear to be concerned about their situation."
The Sheriff's Office contacted the Crestview Police Department to tell them what had happened and that two employees were detained. Sgt. Matt Purvines told the Sheriff's Office the Crestview Police Department would support whatever action deputies needed to take.
When Bryan Crawford was placed in the back of a patrol car, he spat on the window and put both his feet onto the glass as if he was preparing to kick it out, the report said. He was then secured in the vehicle by a seatbelt harness and warned against further actions.
As he was being transported to booking, Bryan Crawford asked repeatedly why he was being arrested for defending "some girl." The report said the officer explained it was his actions outside the club that led to his arrest. Bryan Crawford said he didn't know who the officer was during the altercation. The officer replied, "What am I wearing?" He was in uniform.
Deputies also noted in the offense report that both Crawfords had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on their breath.
"You wish their behavior was better as law enforcement officers, but you can't be with them 24 hours a day," Mitchell said. "It's always disappointing when someone violates the law or lets you down."
Both men have been involved with the police department since they were teenagers in the Explorer program.
Danny Crawford became a full-time police officer in 2000 and was currently working with the Street Crimes Unit and was a member of the SWAT team, Mitchell said. In 2005, Danny Crawford was named Crestview's Police Officer of the Year, an honor awarded by fellow officers.
This isn't the first time Danny's younger brother Bryan has had legal trouble. On April 8, 2004, Crawford, who was off duty and traveling in his personal car, was involved in a single-vehicle accident at about 4:20 a.m. His car ran off the side of Auburn Road, striking a guardrail, utility pole and telephone junction box, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report.
Authorities took a blood sample and he was found to have a blood-alcohol level of .12, according to FHP findings. The legal limit in Florida is .08.
Bryan Crawford was suspended without pay in June 2004, pending the results of his criminal proceedings. He was, however, allowed to work as a dispatcher in August of that year when there was a shortage at the department. Bryan was fired in September for abusing sick leave. According to his 2004 termination letter, he called in sick one day and was seen that evening at a Fort Walton Beach area nightclub.
Bryan plead no contest in the DUI charge.
In 2005, after his court-ordered probation, Bryan Crawford was rehired by former Police Chief Travis Gillihan who said he considered Bryan because there was a shortage of experienced police officers and thought he deserved a second chance.
"I've learned my lesson," Bryan Crawford said in a July 2005 interview with the Daily News. "I was young. I made a mistake. I paid my dues and did my time."