A disturbing video shows officers deploying a taser and beating Chad Washington in front of children.
Witnesses said the 35-year-old had suffered a medical emergency, but instead of paramedics, police were sent to Washington’s door and then a beating ensued. The incident was captured on video and sparked protests across Sarasota.
In a public meeting on Friday, Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino defended the officers, saying they did no wrong.
“I think the officers acted appropriately in this case,” DiPino said.
Police said Washington’s fiancée, Darnesha McMillan had called 911 because he was having a violent reaction to drugs.
“He’s rolling around on the floor, throwing up. I don’t know what’s going on!” McMillan told a dispatcher.
In these cases, DiPino said it’s protocol for officers to arrive at the scene first. The chief played another video that shows Washington convulsing and behaving erratically before officers came to the home. When they finally arrived, police said he attacked them and they had to deploy a taser.
“At this point, the officers had an obligation to take this person into custody as safely as they possibly could,” said Chief DiPino.
According to an expert, the tasers were ineffective because Washington would not stop moving.
McMillan has disputed the agency’s findings and is calling for the officers to be fired.
“They’re lying, they’re gonna cover up for what they believe. That’s what they always do so they’re never going to speak the truth,” said McMillan. “I want to see the officers fired. I want to see them fired, with no pay.”
Washington remains behind bars on charges of drug possession and battery on an officer.