Sanford PD lieutenant suspended after arrest for allegedly headbutting girlfriend while barhopping in Daytona

Sanford PD Lt Joseph Santiago arrested onb felony charge after asllegedly headbutting & punching girlfriend while barhopping in Daytona / Headline Surfer®
Sanford PD Lt. Joseph Santiago arrested on felony battery charge / Headline Surfer®Photos for Headline Surfer® /
Joseph Santiago, a veteran of the Sanford Police Department for more than 17 years, is accused of felony battery involving his girlfriend, who alleged in an arrest report filed by Seminole County Sheriff's Office that he head butted her while they were barhopping in Daytona and later punched her on their way home. He is free on $500 bond, pending arraignment. Santiago is shown on his Linked-In page above and his booking mug at left from his arrest over the weekend.
 

SANFORD, Fla. -- Sanford police Lt. Joseph Santiago was arrested shortly after 5:45 a.m. near Interstate 4 and H.E. Thomas Jr. Parkway by Seminole County Sheriff's deputies after barhopping in Daytona Beach overnight Saturday with his girlfriend, who accused him of head butting her and later on the way home punching her in the face with such force that it caused blood to shoot from her nose.

It was the alleged punch to the face that led to the girlfriend calling 9-1-1 and describing the punch and alleged earlier violence, leading to Santiago getting pulled over in Seminole County on the way back from Daytona Beach.

Seminole County deputies said Santiago, who was known to them, smelled of alcohol and refused to answer questions without the presence of a lawyer, but he was not charged with drunken driving.

The girlfriend, whose name was not released, was transported from the scene to Central Florida Regional Hospital in Sanford, where she was being treated in the ER for her injuries, which were not life-threatening.

Santiago, who has worked for Sanford PD since 1998, was booked into the John E. Polk Correctional Facility in Sanford, where he was jailed without bond, on a charge of felony battery, but was released after his first appearance before a judge on Sunday.

"Santiago was subsequently relieved of duty and placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the Criminal and Administrative/Professional Standards Investigation," Sanford PD spokeswoman Bianca Gillett told Headline Surfer®.

"Santiago was subsequently relieved of duty and placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the Criminal and Administrative/Professional Standards Investigation," Sanford PD spokeswoman Bianca Gillett told Headline Surfer®. 

Sanford Police Chief Cecil Smith said in a prepared statement released through Gillett: "Lieutenant Santiago has been relieved of duty pending the results of the internal investigation. We hold our officers, regardless of rank, to the highest standards of conduct and ethics both on duty, and in their personal lives."

Smith continued: "We will conduct a fair and thorough internal investigation into the incident, and be as transparent in that process as possible. It is important for the purposes of a sound investigation that all policy and protocol be followed. We ask for the community's support and patience as we navigate this process."

Santiago graduated from the University of Central Florida with a master’s degree in criminal justice. He was among numerous Sanford cops who testified at the murder trial of George Zimmerman who was subsequently acquitted in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com for a decade now. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed dozens of journalism-industry awards in print anddigital platforms. Frederick is enrolled at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's three-fourths through the online Master of Arts program in New Media Journalism. His graduation is in August.