June 8, 2015
by Rene Stutzman
An Orlando police officer kicked an unarmed man at least six times while the suspect sat on a downtown curb, according to video shot by an onlooker, and as he did, another officer shocked the man with a Taser.
The Police Department on Monday released the video-recording, which shows Officers David Cruz and Charles Mays arresting Noel Carter, a 30-year-old Hollywood, Florida, man in downtown Orlando Thursday about 10 p.m.
Police Chief John Mina says the case is under investigation to determine whether the officers used excessive force, but he left them on active duty.
The video of Thursday’s arrest was made by a woman who lives across Orange Avenue from the spot of the arrest and appears to show Carter complying with the officers when Cruz, standing to the man’s right, begins delivering kick after kick to his right arm. According to police, that was only part of what happened.
The officers were off-duty, working security at Venue 578, a nightclub at the corner of Orange Avenue and Concord Street, when they saw Carter “using physical force” against a woman, the officers wrote in an incident report.
Carter was drunk, his girlfriend had just broken up with him, but he was grabbing at her and attempting to keep her from walking away, Cruz wrote. The officers tried to arrest him, according to the report, but he refused to cooperate and tried to run away.
The video first appeared Friday, broadcast by WESH-Channel 2. It does not show Carter fighting or resisting arrest.
However, on Monday the department produced new supplemental reports. In them, the officers wrote that they argued and struggled with Carter over a distance of 75 to 100 yards.
During that time, Carter struck Mays with an open hand and at one point was on the ground on top of Cruz, they wrote.
Officers hit him three times with a metal baton, used chemical spray twice, shocked him four to seven times with a Taser and tackled him, they wrote.
Carter was unhurt, they said. He was arrested on charges of domestic battery, battery of a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence and resisting arrest without violence.
Four Orlando officers have been arrested in the past year, accused of hitting, kicking or shooting at suspects in cases that State Attorney Jeff Ashton classified as criminal acts.
Mina said in a recent interview that his agency is taking steps to reduce the use of excessive force through more training, body cameras and other measures.
A federal lawsuit filed in April accused the city of Orlando of repeatedly allowing its police officers to violate the civil rights of criminal suspects.
Video of officer kicking suspect prompts OPD investigation