NewsSarasota, Manatee County


Families say Sarasota Police officers used excessive force on loved ones

Internal Affairs reviewing cases in Sarasota
Posted at 9:20 PM, Jun 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-20 23:17:51-04

SARASOTA, Fla. — Families in Sarasota are fighting for justice for their loved ones after they say Sarasota Police officers used excessive force. 

Cell phone video from an incident in March shows Sarasota Police officers kicking and using a Taser on 35-year-old Chad Washington as children watch nearby. 

"They continued to brutalize and target our black men. For one, I'm tired of it," said Chad Washington's fiance, Darnesha McMillan.

Police officers and paramedics responded to Washington's home in Sarasota for a medical emergency. 

On Wednesday, three groups including "Black Lives Matter Manasota," "Answer Suncoast," and "Rodney Mitchell Foundation" gathered outside the Sarasota courthouse. 

They are demanding justice for Washington and other families.

"We will not stop until there is an end to police violence in our community," said Ruth Beltran, Organizer with Answer Suncoast. 

The Sarasota Police Department is fighting back. 

"I take all these types of complaints seriously. I hold our officers to the highest standard," said Chief Bernadette DiPino.

An internal affairs review showed officers followed policy. Officers said Washington was under the influence of drugs and they controlled the situation.

Officers activated a taser 13 times, but it only worked once. The other 12 activations had poor or no conductivity. 

An independent advisory board also reviewed this case.

The family of Jeremy Trebbles also attended the gathering outside the courthouse on Wednesday. 

They say officers shot the 18-year-old multiple times in April as he was in his car. Sarasota Police said this case is still open and internal affairs is still investigating.

"They stated that he tried to come at them with his car so they say they feared for their life," said Stephanie Pinkey, aunt. 

Trebbles remains in the Sarasota County jail on a $150,000 bond for aggravated battery on an officer, firefighter or EMT.

The groups wrote a letter outlining their concerns and plan to give it to the State Attorney's Office. The State Attorney said he will review the letter and their concerns.