Melbourne Police Kick, Punch, and Taser a 66-Year-Old Man With Dementia

A 66-year-old Melbourne man
with dementia spent a month in the hospital after he was violently
arrested in October 2011 by officers from the Melbourne Police
Department in Melbourne, Florida. The officers who arrested Albert
Flowers charged him with battery on a police officer,
but a dash-cam video obtained this weekend by WFTV Channel 9
News
in Central Florida shows that Flowers did not assault
either officer before being kicked in the stomach, punched
repeatedly, choked, and Tasered.

According to WFTV’s report, Officer Derek Middendorf of the
Melbourne Police Department was responding to a report that Flowers
threatened another man with a knife. Middendorf’s arrest report
claims that “Flowers walked towards him in an aggressive manner”
and that he “refused to stop at a safe distance.” This record of
the arrest held water in part because Middendorf turned off
his dash cam before getting out of his cruiser. But the Melbourne
Police Department was since able to retrieve the video from the
dash cam hard drive. And that video tells a different
story. 

In the
raw video
 (it’s not embeddable, so you’ll have to click
through), Flowers walks at a leisurely pace toward Middendorf.
His hands are down at his side as he approaches Middendorf in
the street, and he does not appear to be carrying anything. When
Flowers is a few feet from Middendorf, the officer kicks him in the
stomach, causing Flowers to fall down. Middendorf then jumps on top
of Flowers, and punches him repeatedly in the head and chest.
Flowers appears to raise his hands to shield himself, but does not
appear to fight back. After Middendorf forces Flowers onto his
chest, he lies on top of him and tries to gain control of Flowers’
right hand. When he fails to do so, Middendorf punches Flowers
first in the face, then the ribs, and puts Flowers in a chokehold,
at which point another officer approaches the two men, bends down,
and Tasers Flowers in the face.

The video shows Flowers’ nephew, Garrick, approaching the
officers to explain that his uncle has dementia and recently
underwent a triple bypass. (Garrick told WFTV that he was worried
the officers were “killing him.”)

Moments later, two more officers show up to help Middendorf
restrain Flowers. Paramedics are then called to treat Flowers, who
is seen in the video sitting on the ground without
restraints. 

Middendorf,
who was named Melbourne PD’s officer of the year in 2008
, is
currently on leave due to an injury unrelated to his arrest of
Flowers.
A hearing will be held on Wednesday
.


Watch the the video of Flowers’ arrest here
, courtesy of
WFTV.