Thursday, February 18, 2010

CCSO Investigates NAACP Allegations

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office is conducting an internal investigation into an allegation that a CCSO deputy used excessive force on a Fort Myers man after handcuffing him following a high-speed vehicle pursuit in June 2009.

The investigation, which began Tuesday, is the result of an e-mail from the Lee County branch of the NAACP. The e-mail alleges not only excessive force, but also suggests a coverup of deputies’ actions in the June 15, 2009, arrest of Coroy Flournoy.

Flournoy, 26, was charged with resisting arrest without violence in connection with the incident.

Arrest reports say Flournoy was a passenger in a Nissan Altima that was traveling south on State Road 29 at about 25 miles above the posted 55 mph speed limit. The driver of the Altima refused to pull over and led deputies onto Interstate 75, where he reached speeds in excess of 110 mph. At one point the Altima hit a marked Florida Highway Patrol vehicle, causing it to crash, reports said. Deputies were able to force the car to stop at the 114 mile marker of I-75.

Reports say Flournoy refused deputies’ commands to get out of the vehicle and that he clenched his fists and failed to comply with deputies’ demands that he place his hands behind his back when the alleged excessive force took place.

This investigation, which is being conducted by CCSO’s Professional Responsibility Bureau, will determine what took place during the traffic stop. Among the questions that will be resolved are whether Flournoy was handcuffed or resisting being handcuffed at the time of the alleged excessive response to resistance and whether deputies on scene were following agency and state response to resistance guidelines while taking Flournoy into custody.

In order to perform a complete review, many elements need to be reviewed, such as reports, videos, sworn statements and physical evidence. In addition, other questions must be answered, including why was the vehicle traveling in excess of 110 mph, why was the driver attempting to elude deputies and why did the driver fail to stop after hitting a marked FHP vehicle.

Law enforcement officers are permitted to respond to resistance, whether it be verbal, passive, active or aggressive, for the safety of the public, the officer and the subject.

“We all need to reserve judgment until this investigation is complete,” said Sheriff Kevin J. Rambosk. “The process has begun and we need to let it work.”

Click here to see CCSO’s policy regarding response to resistance.