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A sheriff’s deputy in Florida was recently put under investigation following the review of disturbing body-cam footage. The video shows the officer approaching a black man, Allen Floyd, who was seated quietly on the sidewalk with a baby, and then aggressively calling him “boy” before eventually grabbing him by the throat.
The incident in July 2017 occurred at a Dania Beach hotel, where Broward County sheriff’s deputies were responding to a report of an intoxicated woman who had allegedly broken a TV there. The woman, a guest at the hotel, had reportedly been watching Floyd’s nine-month-old baby at the time.
In the body-cam video—recently discovered by public defenders preparing for the woman’s trial, according to a report by Florida’s Sun Sentinel on Friday—Deputy James Cady approaches Floyd, who was not under investigation that night, and asks to see his identification. “For what?” Floyd asks quietly, shaking his head as he continues to sit with his baby in his lap. He tells the deputy his name.
Cady threatens to arrest Floyd for not showing ID, and to have the baby taken away by child protective services. “Quit fucking with me, boy!” the deputy yells at Floyd. “I’m going to fuck you up.” After Floyd stands, Cady reaches for Floyd’s throat and appears to push him against a car as another deputy grabs the baby, who begins to cry.
The sheriff’s deputies did not arrest Floyd, who did not file a complaint. But Broward County public defenders were shocked when they discovered the footage recently while preparing for the woman’s upcoming trial. One of the lawyers told the Sun Sentinel that Floyd did not have to show identification because he was not under investigation for a crime.
“This video depicts a clear display of police abuse,” public defenders Howard Finkelstein and Gordon Weekes wrote in a letter on January 31 to Sheriff Gregory Tony. “Deputy Cady’s verbal assault coupled with him choking an otherwise cooperative bystander can only be characterized as unlawful touching…In addition, Deputy Cady’s use of the term ‘Boy’ is offensive, condescending and demeaning…Abusive conduct of this sort is unacceptable.”
Tony replied on February 1. “Thank you for bringing this matter that occurred in July 2017 to my attention,” he wrote. “A cursory search of our system shows that no complaint was made prior to receiving your letter. Our Division of Internal Affairs will provide you a response upon conducting a thorough examination.”
The Sun Sentinel notes that Cady has been investigated for troubling behavior in the past. In 2013, his agency had to pay a $350,000 settlement after a Dania Beach couple accused him of wrongfully arresting them; the deputy was also accused of stunning the husband with a Taser, tackling him, and beating him in front of his children.
After the most recent case at the hotel, Weekes told Mother Jones that Cady had not yet been reassigned from road patrol during the internal affairs investigation. The sheriff’s office did not respond to a request by the Sun Sentinel to verify the claim. “As of yet, they have not announced that they put him on desk duty,” says Weekes. “That’s one of the most troubling parts of this whole thing. That video seems to speak for itself; it doesn’t need much interpretation, and I don’t know what the significant delay is.”
Watch the full video above, via the Miami Herald.