SARASOTA, Florida -- Officers used an excessive amount of force in trying to subdue a 29-year-old at a Sarasota nightclub, according to that man's attorney.
Andrea Flynn Mogensen said now that surveillance video of the August incident has been released, the fact that her client was punched in the head 10 times seems even more unjustified.
It was early on the morning of August 4, and Jason Dragash was apparently causing problems inside Ivory Lounge on Main Street. In the struggle with police, caught on a surveillance camera at the club, you can see Dragash standing up, then going to sit down. He's taken to the ground, and that's where Officer Scott Patrick admitted to striking him 10 times.
"There was no reason to use force. The man was sitting down. To knock a guy out of his chair, batter him, and choke him unconscious...unacceptable," said Flynn Mogensen.
But Officer Patrick said his actions were necessary in order to gain compliance. Dragash was charged with disorderly intoxication and resisting an officer without violence, but both of those charges have since been dropped.
The Sarasota Police Department did not want the video released, saying it's part of an active investigation, but a court order mandated its release. During a press conference yesterday, Police Chief Mikel Holloway said the department takes the accusations very seriously.
"We are doing everything in our power to investigate this matter, this entire incident, very, very thoroughly," he said.
The department has started an internal investigation into Officer Patrick's actions, and the State Attorney's Office is also investigating him. Dragash's attorney said officers should be subject to the same legal process as everyone else.
"If there's no accountability, if there's never any disincentive to do it, we'll keep seeing things like this in this community," she said.
Calls to Dragash's family and Ivory Lounge were not returned.