By Carlos Miller
So I’m reading the latest article on another cop abusing another citizen on another surveillance video. This one is in Florida, as if that’s a surprise.
A Sarasota cop has arrested a 21-year-old man for drunkness. He has him handcuffed and placed in the back of a squad car. He has already pulled into the enclosed sally port area of the jail, which pretty much means the suspect is going nowhere.
The handcuffed suspect then squeezes out the back window and falls flat on his face.
The suspect then manages to get up, but the cop then kicks him twice where he falls down again.
The cop then walks up to him and plants his foot on the man for five minutes. As if he is some type of Herculean warrior.
A couple of other cops stroll over to see what the commotion is, then casually move on with their business. They’ve probably seen it before.
After all, Officer Christopher Childers has had five excessive force complaints against him since joining the force in 2000. None of them stuck but what do you expect when cops investigate cops?
The most recent complaint came in 2006 from a man who said Childers slammed him face down on the floor and kicked him. Ernest Wilson told police in an e-mail that “Childers is a loose cannon just waiting to go off.”
So it’s pretty much the same old, same old as I’m reading this article.
Except for the fact the Sarasota Herald-Tribune decided to interview an “expert on policing issues” for this story. As if they couldn’t make up their own mind what they saw in the video.
And this is what that “expert” told them:
The video did not capture sound, so it is difficult to say whether the officer felt threatened by Perez, or whether Perez was attempting to escape, said Maria “Maki” Haberfeld, a professor at John Jay.
You have to be kidding me.
First of all, who the hell calls themselves “Maki”? Second of all, if Officer Childers felt threatened by a handcuffed man who was unable to stand up, much less fight, then that cop has no business being on the force.
And attempting to escape?
Since when do cops leave the back windows of their squad cars open when they are transporting prisoners? And he was already in the enclosed sally port. If he was that much of an escape threat, then why did the other two cops walk away?
The suspect, Juan Perez, was pretty much trashed that night. He had a blood alcohol content three times the legal limit.
But he was not violent.
Perez, a native of Guatemala who does not speak English, was arrested that night on charges of disorderly intoxication and obstructing an officer without violence.
In an affidavit on the incident, Childers wrote that he arrived at Second Street and Links Avenue to find Perez waving both arms over his head and “blurting out in Spanish.”
Paramedics had left the area and a security officer was trying to calm down Perez, who was bleeding from the mouth and ears and appeared to be intoxicated, according to Childers’ report.
Childers said he handcuffed Perez when he refused to stop moving, and Perez moved away, so Childers “redirected the defendant to the grass.”
Perez admits his memory of that afternoon is hazy, but he says he did not resist. He says the officer started yelling at him, squirted him with pepper spray and took him to the ground.
Perez said Childers stepped on the back of his head, and then its side, causing his nose and lips to bleed and scraping the side of his face. He said he had bruises on both sides of his torso, as well as on several spots on his thighs. The scrapes on his face can be seen in his jail photo.