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Psychologist Talks About 'Badge-Heavy Bullying'

SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- A local psychologist spoke to 10News about abuse allegations against a San Diego County sheriff's sergeant.

More than a half-dozen people have come forward and accused sheriff's Sgt. Elizabeth Palmer of abusing her badge. Many have been too afraid to reveal their identities as they detailed their encounters with her.

"She literally, physically grabbed me by this arm here and pulled me out of line," one person said.

Another said, "I would describe her as a loose cannon."

"I couldn't believe it was the same sergeant," one accuser told 10News.

One retired San Diego police officer complained about Palmer's work

"She harassed me, got in my face."

10News learned San Diego County paid a $150,000 settlement over allegations against Palmer. The sheriff's department told 10News they have launched an internal probe into Palmer's conduct, but did not go into further detail. The department said it is illegal in California for them to discuss personnel issues.

"The psychology of this kind of badge heavy bullying too often covers up a deep sense of inadequacy that person has," said psychologist Michael Mantell.

Mantell, a former psychologist with the San Diego Police Department, said some authority figures will be predisposed to bullying.

"The point in time when it happens is not a click," Mantell said.

Mantell told 10News this would not have been the first time Palmer acted out. Before there are complaints, he said there will be obvious bullying behaviors.

"Aggressiveness, stepping in, over-talking people, shouting at people, physically roughhousing people," Mantell said.

Ultimately, the complaints against Palmer are not facts.

"Until that investigation is really complete, we don't know," said Mantell.

Palmer has not spoken about the accusations against her.


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