PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (WFLA) — Police have released graphic surveillance video showing the beating of a disabled man at a group home in Pinellas Park.
Police said Douglas Rivera, an employee at a group home on Elmhurst Drive, can be seen elbowing the man on the head about six times. 8 On Your Side has chosen not to show that portion of the video due to its graphic nature.
“Well this is certainly not the way we should treat any person,” said Lieutenant Roxanne Pohl with the Pinellas Park Police Department. “Much less an individual with limited abilities.”
According to the affidavit, Rivera had trouble getting the 20-year-old man to sit down on a couch. Police said he wrapped both arms around the victim, then picked him up and slammed him on the ground.
“Five residents were in the home on the day of this incident,” Lt. Pohl explained. “Along with two employees. One of the employees left with one of the residents. While he was gone, this incident occurred.”
The one employee returned to find the victim with a cut on his head, and they had the owner check security cameras.
“We take these kind of cases very serious here,” Lt. Pohl said. “We are happy that in this particular case there was a curious second employee and owner who followed through and found what they needed to and contacted the proper authorities.”
Police said the home has never had any issues or calls like this before. Neighbors told 8 On Your Side off-camera that there are always people coming and going into the house, and it looks seedy. We knocked on the door, but no one answered, but it appeared there were people inside.
“All the right things happened in this case,” Lt. Pohl said. “As far as the home, the owner and the other employees.”
The disabled man was taken to a local hospital and received six stitches to his right eyebrow area, but he’s expected to be fine. Rivera was arrested and charged with abuse or neglect of a disabled person and is being held on a $10,000 bond.