(Sarasota Herald Tribune) SARASOTA, Fla. — A police officer seen kicking a handcuffed man on Sarasota County Jail surveillance video will not face battery charges, the state attorney's office announced Wednesday.
Prosecutors declined to file charges against Sarasota officer Christopher Childers, who was put on administrative leave after the video showed him kicking Juan G. Perez, 21, on June 26.
Witnesses and a 911 call prove Perez already had the bloody injuries to his face before Childers showed up to arrest him for disorderly intoxication, prosecutors said.
The kicks to Perez's abdomen were legally justified because Perez "had escaped from the patrol car" and "was not responding to lawful commands to stay on the ground," a memo from prosecutors states.
Other officers say the kicks were not hard enough to cause injury. And Childers told prosecutors he could have used more significant force to control Perez, who was covered in blood and urine.
Childers had opened the squad car windows after pulling the car into the jail's sallyport. Perez took at least a minute to shimmy out of the window and fall on his head and neck as Childers sat in the front seat.
Perez was intoxicated, with a blood-alcohol reading nearly three times the legal limit of .08 percent. Childers walked around the car and kicked Perez as he tried to get on his feet.
The video of the incident prompted a criminal investigation into Childers that started July 10, more than two weeks later.
Sarasota Police Chief Peter Abbott later acknowledged the department mishandled the investigation.
Abbott apologized for having the investigator help pay $400 to Perez to waive his right to sue the city and drop all claims related to his arrest.
Abbott is on paid leave while investigators look into how he handled the incident.
Perez' attorney, Jim Delgado, could not be reached for comment.
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Tags: sarasota, florida, cop, officer, childers, perez, kicking, battery, not charged, surveillance, handcuffed, smitten_kitten
Location: Sarasota, Florida, United States (load item map)
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