Thursday, December 02, 2010

Florida Officer, Who Broke Man's Neck... Cleared (by Oct. 16, 2010)

Fla. Officer Who Broke Man's Neck Cleared

Posted: October 16th, 2010 09:44 AM EDT

ORLANDO, Fla. --

An Orlando police officer slammed an 84-year-old man to the ground so hard he broke his neck, but Friday the department said Officer Travis Lamont did not break any rules.

Daniel Daley is still in the hospital in intensive care. His attorney, Mark NeJame, told WFTV he's not surprised the Orlando Police Department cleared its officer but said it wasn't right.

NeJame was appalled that the "use of force" investigation points out that Daley is six inches taller than Officer Travis Lamont.

"Six inches, 60 years, um, there is a 60-year age difference. Come on, everybody knows, you got an 84-year-old person. Who cares how tall they are?" NeJame said.

NeJame says Daley is slowly getting better. He is out of a medically-induced coma and he is starting to speak.

His neck was broken during his arrest in September in the Lake Ivanhoe area after his car was about to be towed.

Police said he was drunk and belligerent. The Orlando police "use of force" investigation concludes Officer Lamont was justified in using what police call a hard take down to arrest Daley. The investigation also concluded that he used the technique correctly even though Lamont and the other officer made conflicting statements.

Lamont said Daley grabbed his neck with one hand and pulled back to punch him with the other.The other officer says Daley tried to choke him with both hands

Police chief Val Demings put out a statement Friday saying, "We have begun the process of reviewing the use of force policy and will make appropriate modifications."

"How would you expect them to admit wrongdoing when in fact such an admission would be tantamount to them admitting damages which would be massive in a matter such as this. So it's completely expected but completely wrong," NeJame said.

Daley's medical bills are already in the hundreds of thousands. His recovery could take years.

Daley has given the Orlando Police Department notice that he plans to sue.

According to the report, the officer's sergeant questioned Daley at the hospital after his arrest.

Sgt. Jonathan Bigelow wrote, "I asked the subject, 'How come you did not listen to the officer when he told you not to touch him?' The subject replied, 'I was wrong. I guess I went a little too far.'"

"That is custodial interrogation and it violates a constitutional right to question him without having given him his Miranda warnings," WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said.

Sheaffer says the police are relying on Daley's alleged statement, even though they say Daley was too drunk to drive.

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