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PCSO News Release

Media Contact:
Wood, Donna

Public Information Officer 
News Date: 3/23/2011 

 Polk County Sheriff’s Office Deputies Charge Murder Suspect Terrence Barnett with Battery on Law Enforcement Officer 

At approximately 9:25 am, Tuesday, March 22, 2011, 29-year-old Terrence Jerome Barnett, 30 Queens Court, Frostproof, who is currently in the Polk County Jail facing multiple charges to include the 2009 Murder of PCSO Detention Sergeant Ronnie Brown, became verbally abusive and physically threatening to detention deputies while in a holding cell at the Polk County Court House.

Detention deputies made several requests to Barnett advising him to calm down, but  he refused, telling them it’s about to be “round two,” as he clenched his fists as if ready to fight.

As other detention deputies arrived to assist in escorting Barnett from the holding cell, he continued to display aggressive behavior, making verbal threats and he began to spit at the deputies.  During the confrontation, deputies deployed an agency issued Taser.  The probes did not penetrate Barnett’s skin; however, he became compliant and was escorted from the cell without further incident.  When Barnett was returned from court to the Central County jail, he was examined by medical staff who found no injuries as a result of the incident. 

Barnett was charged with Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer.

Sergeant Ronnie Brown was injured in the line of duty on Sunday, August 30, 2009, after responding to Barnett’s cell in the South County Jail. Barnett was being held for Murder out of Highlands County and became agitated demanding to be transferred to Central County Jail, threatening to break the sprinkler head in his room if deputies did not comply with his demands.

Barnett became increasingly violent and broke the sprinkler head in his cell, causing water to continuously spray into the cell. Several deputies, including Sgt. Brown, responded to his cell to escort him out. After Sgt. Brown and Sgt. Bobby Russell entered the cell, Barnett battered, and shoved Sgt. Brown backwards, knocking him against the wall and causing him to land on the floor on his back. Sgt. Brown had to be rescued from the cell by his fellow deputies, due to the injuries he received as a result of being shoved into the wall and onto the floor by the inmate. Barnett was eventually taken into custody after deputies used chemical agent to bring him into compliance.

Sergeant Brown was taken by ambulance during the early morning hours of Monday, August 31st, to Lake Wales Hospital to be treated for his injured back, and released. The next afternoon, Tuesday, September 1st, the injuries to his back were so severe that he could not move. He was transported to Winter Haven Hospital, and he underwent back surgery on Wednesday, September 2, 2009. He remained in Winter Haven Hospital after surgery and died at the hospital on Monday, September 8, 2009.

Terrence Barnett was charged on September 3, 2009, with Aggravated Battery on LEO, 2 counts Battery on LEO, Criminal Mischief, Depriving an Officer of Means of Protection, and 3 counts Resisting an Officer with Violence, due to his violent actions on August 30th against Sgt. Brown and the other detention deputies at the South County Jail.

Barnett’s criminal arrest history includes:

24 Charges: 4 counts Out of County Warrant (Highlands County) for 1st Degree Murder, Kidnapping, Arson, Robbery; Possession of Meth; Possession of Cannabis; Possession of Paraphernalia; Grand Theft Auto; Arson; Tampering with Evidence; Solicitation; 2 counts Criminal Mischief; Battery by Inmate on Another Inmate; 2 counts Battery; 3 counts Resisting Officer with Violence; 2 counts Battery on LEO; Aggravated Battery on LEO; Depriving Officer of Means of Protection


08/20/2007 – Grand Theft Auto, Battery

09/26/2007 – Resisting Officer With Violence, Battery on LEO, Assault, Possession of Burglary Tools, Petit Theft, Burglary of Conveyance, Burglary of Dwelling, FTA (Criminal Mischief), VOP (Armed Robbery, Aggravated Assault), Off Bond (Grand Theft, Battery, Burglary, Robbery)

09/10/2001 – 2 counts Battery, Robbery, 2 counts Grand Theft, Burglary of Dwelling 

11/01/2000 – Armed Robbery, Aggravated Battery, Aggravated Assault, Battery