+1 (954) 746-3370
Consider joining our membership channel https://m.youtube.com/c/JamesMadisonAudits/membership
As Chief of the Sunrise Police Department, I believe that it is vital to be transparent. I recently received multiple requests for the disclosure of a video that is part of an active and ongoing internal affairs investigation involving a Sunrise Police Department Sergeant. I conducted an interview with WSVN Channel 7 and felt that it was necessary to show the public the requested video.
As a result of the captured incident being a part of an active investigation, the audio from the video was muted and many faces were redacted to protect the integrity of the investigatory process.
The requested video depicts a sergeant who arrived on scene as officers were placing a verbally and physically resistive male suspect into the backseat of a patrol vehicle for transport to jail. The suspect had been placed under arrest for a violent felony. Once the suspect was inside the patrol vehicle, the sergeant approached and engaged in a verbal altercation with the suspect in a manner that I feel was inappropriate and unprofessional. This supervisor escalated the encounter instead of de-escalating an emotionally charged situation. It is our practice at the Sunrise Police Department to do everything we can to de- escalate tense incidents and bring calm to chaos.
While speaking to the suspect, the sergeant is seen holding his can of pepper spray. Although he did not deploy the spray, the sergeant’s actions unnecessarily elevated the demeanor of the suspect. A nearby officer who was concerned with things escalating further is seen moving into camera view and approaches the sergeant from behind. In accordance with our department policies and procedures that call for intervention when there is an imminent fear of engagements escalating unnecessarily, the officer is seen grabbing the sergeant by the back of his duty belt and pulling him backwards. The video then shows the sergeant turn around while back pedaling. The sergeant then momentarily places his hand at the throat of the officer while pushing the officer backwards. The movements of the sergeant and officer are stopped when the officer’s back comes into contact with a nearby police vehicle.
Upon hearing about this incident, I immediately relieved the sergeant of his supervisory responsibilities and ordered an internal affairs investigation. The sergeant has no contact or supervision over subordinate personnel. The investigation is active and ongoing. I assure the public that the investigation will be thorough and complete. The findings of the investigation will be available upon completion.
I am very proud of the officer involved in this incident and believe that the actions taken were definitive and demonstrative of good leadership during a tense situation. The men and women of the Sunrise Police Department are expected to de-escalate emotionally charged situations and intervene immediately if it appears that a fellow officer is losing control of themselves or displaying inappropriate conduct while engaged with the public. The actions of our officer involved in this incident are exemplary of the professionalism the personnel of the Sunrise Police Department regularly display while honorably serving the public in a profession that is all too often difficult and dangerous.