Re: Police Proving Falsified Police Reports in Florida
Maybe, or maybe not. It all depends on what actually happened in that doorway (or more precisely, what the officer(s) perceived happened). IF everything happened exactly as you perceived, then it sounds like it was a bit abusive and an unwarranted charge. However, you admit that you viewed this from a distance (I presume from across the street). How clearly could you really see into that doorway and how closely were you watching? Could your view have been at least partially blocked by the officer(s) standing at the doorway? Could you see straight into the doorway or was your view at an angle? Might you have missed something like your neighbor throwing a quick punch, shove, grab, or spit at the officer(s)?
Again, maybe and maybe not. Did you actually see any blood or obvious injury after they "slammed him on the ground" but before when he entered the car? Who took the photos you refer to and when were they taken - were they taken right then (before the cops drove away to take your neighbor to jail) or after he had already been booked? If after, isn't it just as likely that the blood got on the outside of the car as your neighbor was being taken OUT of the car is when he was going in? It is actually not at all unheard of for an arrestee to deliberately slam their head against the cage in the patrol car with the specific intent to create false "evidence" of excessive force by the police.
The police would normally only canvas for witnesses and take their statements if the police thought their testimony would help identify a suspect or otherwise be needed in court. If an officer gets assaulted and immediately takes his/her assaulter into custody, he or she would have no reason to believe that witnesses from across the street would do anything to bolster the officer's own first person observation of the incident. So, yes, it would be perfectly normal in some cases (with no reason to suspect nefarious intent) for the police to not bother to identify and list other potential witnesses in the report. When an officer stops someone for running a stop sign, do they need to also stop every other passing driver to list them in the report as a witness?
Of course, if the cop(s) were trying to cover up their own wrongdoing, then they would also not want contradictory witness statements included in the report. However, obviously, that works both ways. You say that your neighbor was drunk, had just had a physical fight with a "friend" at his residence, and it appeared that the cops were familiar with him (presumably from prior incidents the neighbor had been involved in - implying a history of illegal behavior). Isn't it conceivable that this man, drunk, already in a violent or at least angry and aggressive state of mind, and (by your own admission) preemptively and actively hostile to the responding officers, might have actually done what he is accused of - assaulted a cop? If he had done so, wouldn't it be in his best interest to try to discredit the testimony of the cops with counter testimony from anyone he could find?
With that in mind, I have to ask - did you and your neighbors all get together and say, "Wow, did you see what happened to Fred? We should report what we saw!" If so, did you and your neighbors think to contact the prosecutor's office or make a report to a supervisor at the police station?
OR, were you and your neighbors contacted by the arrested neighbor and/or his attorney and convinced "in the interest of justice" to come testify on his behalf? If that was the case, take a minute and think about that conversation…were you told your neighbor's version of the incident and THEN asked if you could corroborate any of it? Who is really "trying to cover their butts" - the cops or your neighbor?
Behind the badge is a person. Behind the person is an ego. This is as it should be, person at the center and ego to the back.