NewsSarasota, Manatee County


Video shows Florida officers arresting man, witnesses shouting 'he's handicapped'

NAACP calls for investigation after video surfaces
Posted at 1:23 PM, Feb 19, 2019

SARASOTA, Fla. — The Sarasota chapter of the NAACP is calling for an investigation into a video that captured a man being arrested by Sarasota police officers as witnesses shouted "the man is handicapped."

The video was captured by a witness over the weekend and shows a woman trying to get the attention of at least four officers by yelling that the man they were trying to arrest, Govinda Howell, was handicapped.

"He's handicapped, he's handicapped," you could hear a woman shouting.

ABC Action News reached out to a spokesperson with the Sarasota Police Department about the video and they said they were made aware of the video on Monday.

In an email to ABC Action News, they wrote:

"A formal and active internal affairs investigation has started after concerns were raised by our community." — Sarasota Police Department

Police later provided more information, saying that on Saturday at about 7:55 p.m., officers were traveling WB on 23rd St. when they saw a vehicle stopped in the middle of the road. The car then started traveling the wrong way, and also failed to stop at a stop sign, at which time officers initiated a traffic stop.

Howell was a passenger, according to police.

Police say Howell turned to look at the police vehicle and began to make "furtive movements" under the seat in front of him. Officers told Howell to show them his hands, but say he ignored their commands. He leaned forward as if he was reaching for something under the front seat, and officers told him to step out of the car and put his hands up.

They say Howell remained uncooperative and was removed from the vehicle for a pat down. He slowly stepped out of the vehicle and continued to yell at officers. Authorities say he appeared to be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol and became "extremely agitated."

Police say Howell resisted and placed suspected narcotics in his mouth and chewed them to try to destroy them. Officers were not able to recover any narcotics consumed by Howell.

He’s been charged with resisting a law enforcement officer without violence, a misdemeanor.

He was taken to Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Meanwhile, the driver of the vehicle was issued a traffic citation for failure to use a designated lane.

The department said they are requesting that anyone with more information or video to contact Detective Dwayne Shellhammer at 941-954-7027.

ABC Action News asked police if Howell is handicapped like witnesses said in the video, and they said they are not aware of this and would not be able to discuss it.

The department confirmed Sarasota police officers receive training in mental health.

Story developing, refresh for updates. Stay with ABC Action News for the latest.