My question involves police conduct in the State of: Florida
The following is a copy of a complaint I have filed with a local police department. I have deleted the names of the department and the people involved. I believe the officer's actions were illegal. Can anyone help me with an opinion. I am meeting with a department detective tomorrow to relate my version of the incident.
On December 30, 2011, at approximately 3:00 pm, I met JW at 7928 Coral Street, just north of Miner Road. She was followed by ---- PD officer , to the upholstery repair business that is operated at that address from Bay 11. Ms. W is a close personal friend of mine, and she and I had visited this establishment several times prior to this date and reached an agreement with the owner, (J, who was not on scene at the time) to repair her driver’s seat. After having paid J $250 for the work he had performed the prior week, he and his assistant were refusing to release the last piece of upholstery (a correction of a mistake they had made)of W---’ they had unless she paid them an additional $100. W had called for police assistance, hoping that the matter could be resolved. Officer --- attempted to utilize a third party, a gentleman that had nothing to do with the transaction but was at another bay at the address, to try to arrive at a suitable compromise. This was unsuccessful, and tempers and voice levels escalated as both sides stated their claims. Officer -- took the position that the upholstery shop did not have to release the item until it was paid for. This did not seem fair, and both W and I told the officer that. He said we could talk to his Sergeant if we did not like his solution, and we agreed. He then radioed for his Sergeant to respond to the scene. At no time did we use any profanity or epithets. There were approximately 10 black males in close proximity either watching the proceedings or taking part in them. Finally, when I realized that we were not making any progress, I agreed to pay the $100 for the upholstery. Officer --- took the money and walked inside the shop, where he paid the worker. He came back with the piece of upholstery, a leather back of a car seat.
Since I felt that the situation had been resolved, though not as we would have liked, I told Officer --- that we were going to leave and that he could call his sergeant and cancel his response. He said “No, you called for him, now you have to wait and talk to him”. I said that wasn’t necessary, and we would just leave. He restated, “No, you’re not leaving, you have to stay and talk to the sergeant”. I stated one more time that we wanted to leave, and Officer --- told me we could not. I will point out that Officer --- was in uniform and armed, and had his hand on his holstered weapon as he ordered W and me to stay where we were and not leave. I then said, as long as we can’t leave, I want the seat back reinstalled in the car, as it had been taken out by the worker, and we had paid $100 more than the original agreement.
Shortly after we were ordered to stay, another --- PD vehicle arrived, driven by Sgt. ---. I started telling him my version of the events that had taken place, and when I was almost finished, Officer --- interrupted and began to tell his version. He related the chain of events fairly accurately, up to the point where he said “And then this woman (pointing at W) called that man a nigger”. Both W and I were shocked, as neither of us had ever used that word, or any other derogatory or inflammatory language during the entire time we were there. When we both adamantly denied his statement, Officer --- walked toward the shop with the open bay, where several of the local residents were gathered, and asked three or four times in a loud voice “Didn’t you hear her call you a nigger?” Each time he used the word, the group of black males appeared to become more agitated, and started yelling insults at W and me. It was obvious that none of them had heard us use this language, but with Officer --- repeatedly saying it, the atmosphere quickly turned dangerous. In the mean time, when W and I repeatedly stated we had never used that word, he called W a liar several times. I took exception to that, and told him so.
As the worker was installing the seat, and I was standing next to Sgt. --- and Officer ----, the shop owner, Javis, pulled up. He quickly exited his car, went in to talk to his worker, then came out and started shouting insults at W and me. He was yelling and jumping around, holding his crotch and telling me that “Your girlfriend showed up here last week with another fat man, and she was sucking his dick. You’re not enough man for her” and on and on with similar language. I looked at Officer ---- and saw a grin on his face, and I said, “You’re enjoying this, aren’t you,?” and he said, “Do you see me laughing?” and I said “No, but you’ve got a big grin on your face as this guy insults me as much as he can, obviously trying to start a fight, and you’re forcing me to stand here and listen to it”. He then said “You can go now” and I said I wasn’t going to leave W there alone with them. Finally, the seat was installed, and we left.
I now understand that the actual disagreement that took place between the shop owner and W and me was a civil matter, and the officer’s options were limited. I strongly believe, however, that the officer acted irresponsibly, and even illegally, when he forced us to remain at the scene, falsely claimed that W had yelled a racial epithet, nearly inciting a riot, and forced me to stand and listen to a long rant of personal insults from the shop owner, Javis. Remember, I had been ordered not to leave. At several points during the incident, I felt that we were in danger due to Officer --- reckless handling of an already tense situation. For the reasons cited above, I wish to make a formal complaint against Officer ---.