A Florida police officer has been placed on administrative leave, after cell phone video allegedly showed him placing his knee on a black man's neck during an arrest. According to the Sarasota Police Department, the video first made its way to social media on Monday. The clip, however, was reportedly film on May 18.
After watching a number of different videos with various angles, Sarasota Police Chief DiPino "immediately initiated a formal Internal Affairs investigation and placed the officer on administrative leave." A statement on the matter posted to the Sarasota Police Department's Facebook page added that "Chief DiPino was disturbed to see an Officer kneeling on the head and neck of an individual in the video." It added, however, that "it appears the Officer eventually moves his leg to the individual’s back." Still, the department clarified that "this tactic is not taught, used or advocated by our agency."
The police statement also stated that the individual beghind detained in the video "did not require medical attention nor did the individual complain of injuries during the incident." They added a "booking photo and police report" to the Facebook post, and provided "additional details regarding this arrest."
Finally, the Sarasota Police Department stated that it "has not received any complaints from citizens regarding this video but is taking this incident seriously." Even still, they encourage anyone who may have "additional information or videos regarding this incident or any other complaints," to contact the Sarasota Police Department Internal Affairs Division, Chief DiPino, or the Administrator for the City of Sarasota Police Advisory Panels.
The news of the Sarasota incident comes amidst social unrest and widespread protests that sparked across the nation after the death of George Floyd. On May 25, Floyd was pronounced dead, after now-former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest. The incident was caught on video by witnesses, with the footage going viral the same day. Chauvin and three other arresting officers were eventually fired, with Chauvin being arrested on Friday.
He was initially charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, but on Wednesday Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced that Chauvin's murder charge was being upped to second-degree murder. The other three officers were taken into custody as well. All three have since been charged with "aiding and abetting second-degree murder" and "aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter." Their bail is reportedly set at $1 million each.