Lakeland Police Chief Sam Taylor has requested that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement initiate an investigation into possible excessive use of force in the Dec. 18 arrest of Antwan Glover, 36, which was videotaped.
“The FDLE investigation will be conducted independently from the department’s standard administrative review handled by our Office of Professional Standards,” Taylor said in a statement released late Thursday. “I recognize the community has questions surrounding this arrest, and I appreciate the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s willingness to take on this investigation. I am confident in their abilities to review the facts fairly, and the Lakeland Police Department will fully cooperate with any requests made by FDLE.”
Sgt. Mark Eby, Detective Dillon Cornn, and Officers Anton Jefferson and Jason McCain will be placed on paid administrative leave, during which they are required to be available to their supervisors and investigators, Taylor said. They are not authorized to work extra duty details or exercise police authority.
Last week, Taylor had placed Cornn, Jefferson and McCain on modified duty, which limited their contact with the public and restricted them from working extra duty details. At the time Taylor said he had received additional information regarding the investigation, although he could not say what that information was.
Black Lives Matter Restoration Inc. co-founder Jarvis Washington said he had provided LPD with additional videos of Jefferson and McCain arresting other people and using what he said was excessive force.
Glover’s step-daughter, 17-year-old Isabella Cannon, videotaped the arrest and posted 27 seconds of that video to social media. It shows Cornn repeatedly punching Glover and Jefferson tazing him.
As the video begins, Glover’s daughter and an unidentified woman in a bathrobe walk around the back of Glover’s car, which she said was parked in front of their home. The unidentified woman is heard saying, “Don’t hit him” and a uniformed officer responds, “Then he needs to quit fighting.”
An affidavit written by Jefferson shows that the three were patrolling the 400 block of West 9th Street in a black, unmarked police SUV that is equipped with red and blue police lights, a spotlight and a siren. All the officers were wearing black police clothes, including black tactical vests with “POLICE” in large white lettering on both the front and back. Jefferson said the area is known as a high-crime area involving drugs.
Residents of that neighborhood have appeared before the City Commission in the last six months to ask that Lakeland Police increase patrols in that neighborhood because of blatant drug dealing and prostitution.
At about 12:14 a.m. on Dec. 19, Jefferson wrote in the report that they saw Glover “rolling” – travelling 3-5 mph — in his black BMW and said they noticed he was not wearing a seatbelt, a violation of Florida law.
McCain shined his flashlight into Glover’s car and confirmed he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. They pulled him over and then McCain approached the driver’s side of the car and began speaking with Glover. McCain said he could see a cannabis cigar “in plain sight” located near a cupholder. McCain said he also smelled the distinct odor of marijuana.
Glover told the officer that he has a medical marijuana card.
McCain ordered Glover out of the car and tried to remove a bag from around his neck. The arrest affidavit states that Glover pulled away from McCain and pushed the officer as McCain tried to place him in handcuffs. McCain then took Glover to the ground. It also states that as Cornn tried to help McCain gain control of Glover’s hands, Glover put Cornn in a headlock.
That’s where the video begins. His step-daughter is videotaping as she walks behind Glover’s car and toward where he is on the ground. McCain and Cornn can be seen struggling with Glover. The two officers are bent over Glover and Glover is seen squirming on the ground.
“Hey! Stop punching my dad!” his step-daughter yells. Jefferson is seen removing his yellow taser from its holster. Glover’s daughter maneuvers around the scuffle as the unidentified woman steps in front of the recording.
Glover is then seen lying still on his back, his knees up and his hands on the ground on either side of his head. His daughter yells not to tase him, but the click-click-click-click sound of the taser being deployed is then heard. When the taser stops, Glover immediately tries to sit up and starts talking to the officers, who begin repeatedly punching him again. What he tried to say is unintelligible on the video.
Glover’s step-daughter then posted the video to social media, including a box of text superimposed on it that says: “Yall BEAT MY FATHER WHILE HIS HANDS WAS UP !! & The Car Was Parked infront OF Our House WHEN Will This STOPPPPP” (sic)
Lakeland Police spokeswoman Robin Tillett said the street crimes unit had not yet been issued the newly implemented body cameras when the incident took place, as the department was rolling out the cameras and conducting training in phases. Patrol officers in marked, black and white cars, were receiving the cameras first.
Officials with Black Lives Matter Restoration Inc., a local offshoot that is separate from the national BLM organization, called for the arrest of the four officers involved, for a federal investigation into the matter, and for Taylor to be fired.
“As Mr. Glover is unarmed laying on the ground with his hands up, he is repeatedly struck in the face by a member of this corrupt department,” said Carl Soto, BLM Polk’s co-founder and vice president.
Glover said he was driving home when his 19-year-old daughter called him to and invited him to come over. His wife then called and asked both Glover and his daughter to come over for food and company, The Ledger reported. Glover’s last known address is nearby on Texas Avenuue.
“What happens later haunts this family and will likely continue to haunt them for the rest of their lives,” Soto said.
The police affidavit says in addition to finding the marijuana cigar, they also found a black scale and more marijuana inside an ashtray. It measured more than 33 grams – about 1/3 of a cup. 20 grams is the amount at which felony possession can be charged. The affidavit also states that Glover told them he has a valid medical marijuana card, but they could not locate it. In addition, the marijuana in the car was not in the container in which it was dispensed.
Glover’s records with the Polk County Clerk of Courts shows he has six prior felony arrests, including for possession drugs with intent to sell, along with several criminal and misdemeanor traffic charges.
Taylor said on Wednesday evening that he was limited by state statute as to what information he could release because this is an ongoing investigation.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd praised Taylor’s decision.
“Chief Taylor is going above and beyond to have FDLE investigate,” Judd said Thursday morning. “I’m sure a professional investigation by LPD will come to the same conclusion as a professional FDLE investigation.”
It is not clear how long the LPD investigation or the FDLE investigation will take.
“Each case is unique, so we can’t provide an estimate on how long it will take to complete,” FDLE spokesman Jeremy Burns told LkldNow. “FDLE will interview witnesses and officers and review all evidence. We will submit our investigation to the State Attorney’s Office and the investigation remains active during this time. As in all use-of-force cases, FDLE’s focus is specifically on the force used by the officers. We provide the facts of what happened to the State Attorney and they determine whether or not charges will be filed.”
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