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Sarasota police situation normal … all F’d up

Color me surprisingly unsurprised.

This report was posted on the Sarasota Herald Tribune website earlier today:

Sarasota Police investigation finds no wrongdoing

By Todd Ruger

A law enforcement department’s six-week review of the Sarasota Police Department into a mishandled excessive force investigation found nothing wrong.

The report acknowledged that “errors in judgment” by the police department and Police Chief Peter Abbott created “the environment that led to speculation of such nefarious acts.”

But the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said that “series of miscues” were flawed management decisions and Abbott has accepted responsibility for those mistakes.

“In conclusion, nothing revealed in the investigations of the incidents stemming from the arrest of Mr. Gomez-Perez led investigators to believe that any member of the Sarasota Police Department, of employee of the City of Sarasota, including Police Chief Peter Abbott, engaged in illegal, unethical or immoral conduct,” the report’s last line states.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office inquiry focused on all the events surrounding the arrest of Juan G. Perez, 21, after a jail video recorded an officer kicking him twice while Perez was handcuffed.

The next day, the same detective conducting a criminal investigation into the excessive force case helped broker the deal that gave Perez $400 if he agreed to waive his right to sue the city.

Combining the criminal investigation with the civil settlement violates a basic rule of police work, say legal experts who have also suggested that police officials may have broken the law.

Abbott apologized to the community for trying to settle the case before it had been fully investigated.

“Chief Abbott’s frustration with the matter resulted in what he admitted were inappropriate comments, made in jest, suggesting that the risk manager should have ‘coin’ and be prepared to bring ‘cash’ for an immediate settlement,” the report states.

Posted on November 5th, 2009Comments RSS Feed

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