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Sarasota police internally investigating allegations of excessive force used by officer

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Posted at 11:38 PM, Jun 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-16 23:41:33-04

SARASOTA, Fla. -- ABC Action News has learned an internal investigation is underway into one man's claims of police harassment in Sarasota.

Rodney Davenport, a 63-year-old military veteran, spoke briefly at a protest Tuesday night hosted by Black Lives Matter Manasota Alliance.

"Silence is compliance," Davenport told the crowd protesting downtown. "Stop the hate on black lives."

According to a police report, two officers with the Sarasota Police Department initiated a traffic stop after Davenport made an improper left turn.

The report indicates a physical struggle between Davenport and an officer after he "quickly jumped out of the vehicle" and refused to comply.

It goes on to state an officer "took Davenport to the ground after he continued to resist officers' attempts to place him into custody by tensing his arms and burying them into his own body."

A post written by Davenport's family member states he suffered several serious injuries including lung damage, bruised ribs and popped blood vessels in his eyes following the May 12 confrontation.

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"He was drug from his car, slammed to the ground, placed in a chokehold, and kicked multiple times in his chest," the post states.

The Sarasota Police Department released the following statement:

"SPD first learned of the incident on June 6, 2020, via a third party social media platform. Chief DiPino immediately advised Internal Affairs to initiate an investigation even though no formal complaint was made. On June 6, 2020 Internal Affairs called Mr. Davenport to gather further details regarding the incident but had to leave a message asking Mr. Davenport to return their call. Internal Affairs never received a return phone call from Mr. Davenport. On June 12, 2020 upon learning that Internal Affairs did not hear back from Mr. Davenport, Chief DiPino directed Internal Affairs to continue efforts to contact him for a period of thirty days. On June 16, 2020 Internal Affairs went to the residence of Mr. Davenport in an effort to make contact. Investigators were unable to make contact with Mr. Davenport and left a card requesting a call back."

When ABC Action News attempted to ask Davenport about the agency's efforts to contact him, an organizer at Tuesday's rally said he would not be answering any questions.

SPD asks anyone with information or video related to the incident to call Internal Affairs at 94`1-263-6027.