Sarasota Police Chief Peter Abbott believed he could pay a police abuse victim $400 in exchange for him agreeing not to sue the city.
The victim, as you may recall, was handcuffed and drunk when Sarasota police officer Christopher Childers kicked him twice, then planted his foot on his neck for five minutes.
It was all caught on a surveillance video (above) from the sally port area of the jail.
And since then, two witnesses – including a former cop from North Carolina who was visiting Sarasota – have stated that Childers was punching Perez even before the sally port incident.
Perez was not bleeding when the officer arrived, and was too drunk to be fighting back, they said.
“I felt sorry for the suspect,” said Locklear, a former homicide detective from North Carolina who was visiting Sarasota that day. “It appeared to be an excessive use of force.
Under Abbott’s orders, a detective also promised Perez they they would help keep him out of jail in the future, if only he signed the waiver promising not to sue the city.
Police called it an “immediate settlement.” It was essentially a bribe.
Perez, a 21-year-old Guatemalan immigrant who doesn’t speak English, signed the waiver believing that his charges of disorderly intoxication and resisting arrest without violence would be dropped.
However, he later had second thoughts and rejected the offer.
Sarasota Police Chief Peter Abbott apologizes for trying to bribe a police abuse victim. Photo by Mike Lang/Sarasota Herald-Tribune
It turns out, this is not the first time the Sarasota Police Department has tried to bribe a police abuse victim with chump change.
Last year, they paid $800 to a man whose tooth was punched out by a cop. The man, a Moroccan immigrant with limited English skills, accepted the offer.
They also offered higher sums to other victims who apparently weren’t immigrants and had a basic grasp of the rights they were giving up.
In the Perez video, you can see another officer stroll up as Childers has his foot planted on Perez, who is laying down on the ground. The officer simply strolls back to whatever it was he was doing.
He’s probably seen it before. Childers has been accused of excessive use of force five times since he was hired in 2000.
Also, a lieutenant who saw the video of Childers kicking Perez did not report it to his superior for another 11 days.
A lot of credit must be given to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and its reporter, Todd Ruger, for not letting this story die.