At one point the officer seems to celebrate a direct hit with an arm pump.
The video goes on for 13 minutes, at times, Miller eating off the floor, at other times the officer propping him back up.
Police Chief Bernadette Dipino took one look at the video Monday morning, suspended Halpin and launched an internal investigation.
Dipino wouldn’t appear on camera but issued a statement saying in part she was disappointed in what she saw in the video.
The City Manager also refused to appear on camera, but Tom Barwin said to us on the phone, “It’s important to give the officer due process.”
Halpin’s worked for the Sarasota Police for nearly nine years. The chief admits Halpin has been disciplined in the past, but she wouldn’t elaborate.
ABC 7 submitted a public records request for Halpin’s personnel file, which the Chief should take a day to give to us.
As for Miller, he’s no stranger to police. The Sheriff’s Office website shows he’s been arrested 22 times in the past, including 18 times this year, for petty offenses.
He lists his residence as the Resurrection House in the Rosemary District.
Though no one from the city or the police department would comment, the Vice President of the Florida ACLU was more than willing to give us his reaction to the video:
“Disappointed, disgusted, and not surprised. This agency has a history of mistreating the homeless, treating them like animals, exactly what the video depicts as if they were at a zoo,” said Michael Barfield of the Florida ACLU.
Barfield says even though Miller has been arrested repeatedly, it still doesn’t warrant harsh treatment.
“The hallmark of a civilized society, we treat people with respect even though they may have violated the law,” Barfield said.
Miller remains behind bars, unable to post bail.
Ray Collins, “Officer suspended after video surfaces of feeding inmate “like an animal in the zoo”, WWSB My Sun Coast, July 27, 2015, http://www.mysuncoast.com/news/local/officer-suspended-after-video-surfaces-of-feeding-inmate-like-an/article_75f979ec-34d2-11e5-9a2f-b3e39ebd449b.html