SARASOTA, Fla. -- A video showing Sarasota police strongly handling a suspect went viral, but an internal affairs investigation into the arrest found excessive force was not used.
Sarasota police officers say when they responded to a medical emergency on March 22, they found Chad Washington tripping on drugs.
“He’s throwing around on the floor, throwing up,” the caller told a 911 dispatcher.
The Independent Police Advisory Panel listened to the 911 call by Washington’s fiancé, Darnesha McMillan.
“He took something got crazy… throwing up, throwing up, throwing up.” She added he was kicking and punching, too.
Police say Washington punched and bit both officers when they tried to cuff him and officers used a Taser him. A chip in the taser showed the officers discharged the taser 13 times, but only one activation connected.
The video of officers with Washington went viral.
“It’s an act of brutality,” one speaker told the panel.
“This was a medical emergency. Police knew that when they arrived mismanaged it,” said another supporter of Washington. They spoke out against the Sarasota police officers who took him into custody.
“The officers used excessive force,” said McMillan.
But after an Internal Affairs investigation, the SPD found the officers acted appropriately.
“I feel our officers used an appropriate amount of force for the situation. It was difficult … violent … officers were attacked when they got there,” said Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino,
McMillan feels differently. She says she’ll continue protesting.
“I want Chad to get justice the charges dropped and the officers fired,” she said.
McMillan says this case is an example of tensions of racism within the Sarasota Police Department and racial tension.
She said, “Mainly in the black community we see it all the time. They always target black male and black females.”
Dipino’s response: “Everyone has a bias, but we train police officers to recognize bias to make sure no one is discriminated against anywhere.”
DiPino also said, “I want people to know we listen … respect … out there keeping the community safe.”
On Monday, there will be a protest at Sarasota City Hall. Instead of picketing, Black Lives Matter and "Answer Suncoast" are planning to pack the house for public comment.
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