Sarasota police officer on leave after kneeling on man’s neck
SARASOTA — A video that surfaced Monday shows a Sarasota policeman kneeling on a man’s back and neck while he was arrested in May. It prompted Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino, who 48 hours earlier condemned the tactic, to put the officer on administrative leave.
The Sarasota Police Department issued a statement Monday saying it was tagged in a social media post showing “a portion of a video” of an arrest of Patrick Carroll, a black 27-year-old Sarasota man who was later charged with felony possession of ammunition by a convicted felon.
He was also charged with misdemeanor resisting arrest and domestic violence.
DiPino put the male officer, who has not yet been identified, on leave after viewing the videos.
“Chief DiPino was disturbed to see an officer kneeling on the head and neck of an individual in the video,” SPD said in an emailed statement. “While it appears the officer eventually moves his leg to the individual’s back, this tactic is not taught, used or advocated by our agency.”
Carroll, who was allegedly involved in a fight on Dixie Avenue with a woman, did not require medical attention and did not complain about injuries during the incident, the statement said.
An unidentified man who took cellphone video of the arrest, which shows Carroll lying handcuffed facedown on the ground, shouts at officers, “You got your knee on my man’s neck, man, on his neck, bro.”
The officer appears to adjust his position and move his knee onto Carroll’s back, while two other male officers stood over them watching.
While the incident apparently did not cause harm to Carroll, it strikes an eerie resemblance to video of George Floyd, who died after Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck, leaving him unable to breathe, in a nearly 9-minute-long video.
Floyd begged officers to get off him, shouting, “I can’t breathe.”
The incident has sparked nationwide protests that have resulted in demonstrations, rioting and looting in major cities. Police have responded by firing tear gas and non-lethal munitions to disperse the activists.
In response to the incident, law enforcement agencies around the country have denounced the action of Chauvin and other Minneapolis officers who witnessed Floyd’s death.
DiPino wrote a message to the community and posted it on social media.
An excerpt from her letter said, “The men and women of the Sarasota Police Department are not trained to use tactics I’ve seen in the videos in Minneapolis. The actions of the officers in Minneapolis were inexcusable.”
DiPino promised transparency to keep the community safe.
SPD submitted a redacted arrest report to the Herald-Tribune on Monday night.
According to the report, which was also posted on the police department’s social media accounts, three officers responded to Dixie Avenue for a report of a battery.
A suspect, identified as Patrick Carroll, got into a fight with a female victim, whose identity has been withheld because of Marsy’s Law. She had swelling on her arms, face, and chest area, officers reported.
The victim told police that Carroll came to her home and said he would not leave because his children were there. She said Carroll told her to “shut up” or he was going to hit her in the mouth. A verbal argument ensued and she said Carroll grabbed her hair, the report stated.
The victim said she grabbed Carroll’s hair to free herself and he began to swing her. She used her arms to block him. She said Carroll threw her to the ground and left. She called 911.
Carroll was found in the 1800 block of 23rd Street in Sarasota. He was wearing a light blue backpack and, at first, was cooperative with the police.
Carroll said he went to the victim’s house to pick up some clothes. He found some of his clothes strewn on the lawn. He said she began yelling and cursing at him and threatened to call the police, so he packed a few things and left.
Carroll denied striking the woman, according to the report.
Officers found enough evidence to arrest Carroll for battery. He began to yell at officers asking why he was placed into handcuffs.
Carroll allegedly told his cousin to grab his blue bag before the police got it.
When an officer tried to put him into the patrol car he turned his body and yelled at them. He dropped his body weight to avoid being put into the car, police said. They took him to the ground with “minimal force,” the report said.
The report did not mention how police restrained Carroll.
A search of Carroll’s body found a baggie of marijuana; his backpack contained a box of change and four .22-caliber bullets, police said. A criminal search found that he had one felony conviction.
The victim declined domestic violence services and the Florida Department of Children and Families was notified because the alleged act occurred in front of children.
Carroll was placed in a patrol car and taken to the Sarasota County jail without incident. He paid $37,500 bail — $30,000 on a count of misdemeanor battery — and was released May 19.
SPD said it did not receive any complaints from citizens regarding the video “but is taking this incident seriously.” Anyone who has additional information or videos regarding this incident or complaints is asked to contact the agency’s Internal Affairs Division at 941-263-6027, Chief DiPino at 941-263-6012, or administrator for the city of Sarasota Police Advisory Panels, Heather Robinson, at 941-263-6322.
This story originally published to heraldtribune.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the USA TODAY Network - Florida.