HomeFlorida NewsViolent encounter during traffic stop in Florida leads to conviction for Georgia...

Violent encounter during traffic stop in Florida leads to conviction for Georgia man


Tampa, Florida – Cleveland Sanders, a 41-year-old man from Covington, Georgia, has been convicted of possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, a charge that could land him back in prison for up to 15 years. The verdict came after a bench trial presided over by United States District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle. The sentencing is scheduled for August 27, 2024.

A Violent Traffic Stop

The incident leading to Sanders’ arrest unfolded on January 3, 2023, when a routine traffic stop in Florida turned violent. According to trial evidence, an officer from the Clearwater Police Department stopped Sanders for several traffic infractions at the intersection of North Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue and Grant Street in Clearwater, Florida.

During the stop, the officer spotted a large handgun in the driver’s side doorjamb. Despite orders to stay inside the vehicle, Sanders exited and assaulted the officer, striking him multiple times and dislodging his body camera before fleeing the scene. He was apprehended shortly after.

Check also: Florida man facing multiple charges for threats against former U.S. president’s wife, Secret Service agents

The recovered firearm added to the gravity of Sanders’ legal troubles due to his status as a convicted felon, which under federal law, prohibits him from possessing any firearms or ammunition. His criminal record includes a prior conviction for aggravated battery with great bodily harm, for which he served 15 years in a Florida prison.

Law Enforcement and Community Initiative

The prosecution of this case was handled by Assistant United States Attorneys David W.A. Chee and David Sullivan, with investigative support from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Clearwater Police Department.

This case is also part of the broader Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative, a federal strategy aimed at reducing violent crime and gun violence. The initiative emphasizes collaboration among law enforcement agencies and community-based organizations to foster safer neighborhoods through focused enforcement and preventive community engagement.

Read more