Riviera Beach Cop Criminally Charged After Shoving, Pointing Taser at Kid, PBSO Says

Riviera Beach Police Officer Cherline Cornelius decided to break up a fight between two kids, ages 9 and 12, by shoving the older kid, pointing a Taser at him, and nearly pulling a gun on a camp counselor attempting to intervene, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

The Palm Beach State Attorney's Office announced today that Cornelius is going to be charged with three crimes in the summer-camp incident.

According to an arrest report, a PBSO deputy responded to Kelsey Park in the town of Lake Park on July 12, responding to a call that a cop was "battering" a 12-year-old boy.

Cornelius told the deputy to arrest someone for "obstructing her investigation" and also let the deputy know she had shoved the 12-year-old boy because she wanted to "teach him a lesson" about not pushing girls, the report says.

Once other people who were part of the summer camp started to surround Cornelius, she pulled out her Taser and pointed it at them, according to the PBSO.

A PBSO sergeant told a detective that Cornelius pushed the boy to "let him see how it feels" and then wanted a camp counselor arrested for impeding the "investigation."

That sergeant asked the employee what he did to intervene, and he said he got in the way after Cornelius shoved the boy, then told the kid to "go ahead and hit her so she could shoot him," the report says.

A couple of weeks later, the sheriff's office interviewed the boy to hear his side of the story.

He told investigators that he had a shoving match with the younger girl and that a camp counselor took the boy to Cornelius to give him a talking-to.

That's when Cornelius shoved the boy twice, dropped some dirty words on him, and asked him how it felt to be pushed, the report says.

Cornelius then pulled the Taser on the kid and pointed it at him, according to the sheriff's office, and when the camp counselor got angry at what was going on, the boy told investigators Cornelius unbuckled her gun and began to pull it out of her holster before putting it back in.

Now, Assistant State Attorney John Parnofiello will be prosecuting charges of assault, battery, and improper exhibition of dangerous weapons or firearms -- all misdemeanors.

If convicted on all counts, Cornelius could face up to two years plus 60 days in the Palm Beach County Jail.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley