The judge kept her composure. The defendant? Not so much.
A routine first-appearance court hearing Thursday turned into something else when a Deerfield Beach man angrily toppled the podium in front of him — apparently unhappy about the bonds that were set by Broward Judge Jackie Powell.
On courtroom video, Bradley Quimbley, 32, his handcuffed wrists resting on the wooden podium in front of him, could be seen reacting to the judge’s decisions by grimacing and speaking. His words couldn’t be heard because Powell’s microphone was on and his was off.
Suddenly, Quimbley is seen spreading the palms of restrained hands, slapping the podium and then slamming it to his left where it flies to the floor. One courtroom bailiff grabs his upper torso and another joins him as Quimbley is dragged between a row of startled defendants before he falls to the ground and is further dragged out of camera range.
In Broward’s first-appearance court, recently arrested defendants appear before a judge who is there to set their bonds and release conditions — not to hear evidence or try their cases. The judge is in a small courtroom, with other court personnel, and the defendants appear by way of a video hookup from any one of three remote Broward jails.
Quimbley was in court Thursday because of his arrest on charges stemming from a January incident at the Publix supermarket at 2511 E. Atlantic Blvd. in Pompano Beach. Broward deputies were called after Quimbley took two items, worth $14.34, from store shelves and “attempted to return the items at the customer service counter without paying for them,” an arrest report said.
When the store clerk became suspicious and notified security, Quimbley allegedly began to threaten the worker with “physical harm or death.”
He was subsequently charged with assault, fraud, disorderly conduct and trespassing.
Quimbley’s outburst came after Powell set bonds in the case totaling $1,600.
Powell had no obvious reaction to what happened and prepared to hear the next case before glancing at the remote courtroom from her monitor and asking, “Is the podium up or down?”
A bailiff quickly righted the small podium.
Quimbley remained in jail Friday morning.
Sun Sentinel Director of Photography Sean Pitts contributed to this report.