The integrity of the Orlando Police Department is being questioned after the agency purposely withheld evidence from the State Attorney’s Office against one of their officers.
The agency withheld body cam video that showed Orlando Police Officer, William Escobar, punching and kicking a military police officer while he was already handcuffed and on the ground following an illegal arrest.
It all started in March 2014, when police responded to a call about a possible fight between six individuals.
The first paragraph of the police report showed that officers already had a preconceived notion of who they thought they would be dealing with when they responded to the area by stating they knew criminals lived in the area. The officers also claimed that when they arrived on the scene and stepped out of the car, they could smell marijuana in the air. Officer Williams stated, “I am familiar with the odor of cannabis due to my training and experience in street level drugs.” It was later determined there wasn’t any marijuana on the scene.
While on the scene, Officer Williams reported he saw the silhouette of a handgun in the pocket of Verrell Sheals, one of the individuals at the location.
While arresting Sheals, officers reported that Refus Jerome Holloway “charged” officers while his hands were in his pockets. Further in the report, officers contradicted themselves and stated that Holloway’s hands were outside his pockets because he was holding up his military officer ID. Witnesses testified that Holloway did in fact have his hands up, attempting to show the officers his ID. Holloway was asking the officers why his cousin was being arrested.
Officer Williams stated that he took Holloway’s actions as threatening, drew his weapon, and pointed it at Holloway. As Holloway was telling the officer to look at his ID, Officer Williams delivered a front kick to Holloway’s abdomen, at which point Holloway caught the officer’s foot. Holloway immediately released the officer’s foot and began to back away once he realized the officer had lost his balance.
Officer Williams then emptied an entire can of OC spray in Holloway’s face. As Holloway fell to the ground, he was still sprayed. An innocent bystander was also hit in his face by the spray, causing him to fall to the ground as well.
Holloway was then handcuffed and punched by Officer Escobar. Officer Escobar punched Holloway in the back of the head while he was handcuffed and face-down in the dirt. Officer Escobar said, “I am a cop, you understand you stupid mother f***er.” The officer also kicked Holloway.
Holloway can be heard in the video saying, “I didn’t touch you, I didn’t touch you.”
After kicking Holloway, the officer then dragged him and tossed him like a ragdoll.
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