Lakeland Police Chief Sam Taylor has placed two officers and a detective on modified duty status stemming from the Dec. 18 videotaped arrest of Antwan Glover, 36.
Detective Dillon Cornn and Officers Anton Jefferson and Jason McCain are now assigned to duties that limit their contact with the public. They are also restricted from working extra duty details. Sgt. Mark Eby, who was also present at the incident, was not removed from duty.
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 tasing him.
As the video begins, Glover’s daughter and an unidentified woman 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.”
In a released statement, Chief Taylor said, “On Tuesday, January 17, 2023, I was provided additional information related to an ongoing administrative investigation into the circumstances surrounding an arrest made on December 18, 2022. When this new information is considered along with the previously known facts of this case, and after consulting with the City Manager Shawn Sherrouse, we have decided it is prudent to place Detective Dillon Cornn and Officers Anton Jefferson and Jason McCain on a modified duty status effective immediately.”
Taylor and LPD spokeswoman Robin Tillett declined to say what that new information was. Taylor cited Florida Statutes 119 and 112 when saying he is limited as to what he can share.
“A complaint of misconduct filed with an agency against an agency employee and all the information obtained pursuant to an investigation by the agency of the complaint of misconduct is confidential and exempt” from Florida public records laws, “until the investigation ceases to be active, or until the agency concludes the investigation, and provides written notice to the employee of the findings of the investigation,” Taylor said.
Tillett also said that the team, known as a street crimes unit, had not been issued their body cameras at the time of the incident. Lakeland Police have purchased 250 cameras and are equipping and training officers in marked, black and white patrol cars first — training about half a dozen officers at a time each day. They began in mid-December. So far, she said they have equipped about 170 officers.
An affidavit written by Jefferson shows that Jefferson, McCain, and Cornn 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.
The affidavit states that the area is a “high crime/drug area in which numerous arrests have previously been made regarding drugs and firearms.” 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 what they described as blatant drug dealing and prostitution.
At about 12:14 a.m. on Dec. 18, Jefferson wrote in the report that they saw Glover “rolling” – traveling 3-5 mph — in his black BMW and said they noticed he was not wearing a seat belt, a violation of Florida law.
McCain shined his flashlight into Glover’s car and confirmed he wasn’t wearing a seat belt. 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 cup holder. 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 step-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, and 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. Cornn begins repeatedly punching him again.
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)
Last week, officials with Black Lives Matter Restoration Inc. 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 Restoration 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.
“What happens after this haunts this family and will likely continue to haunt them for the rest of their lives,” Soto said at a press conference last week.
The police affidavit says in addition to finding the marijuana cigar, they also found a black scale and more marijuana inside an ashtray. It weighed 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, along with several criminal and misdemeanor traffic charges.
In 2005, Glover was arrested for felony possession of cannabis within 1,000 feet of a church with intent to sell and misdemeanor resisting an officer without violence. He was found guilty and sentenced to a year in prison. In 2009, Glover was arrested twice by Lakeland Police and found guilty of possession of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a church with intent to sell. He was sentenced to 14 months in prison. In 2015, Glover was found guilty of felony possession of cannabis with intent to sell, and use or possession of drug paraphernalia (scales). A Polk County Sheriff’s affidavit shows Glover admitted to selling synthetic marijuana after losing his job as a forklift driver. Records show he violated his probation in 2016, 2017 and 2019.
In 2021, he was charged with burglary and domestic violence, but the prosecutor’s office filed an abandonment of the case because “the victim is uncooperative and has recanted her previous statement to law enforcement. The state can no longer prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Jarvis Washington, president and founder of Black Lives Matter Restoration Inc., said he knows there is crime in the neighborhood where Glover was arrested in December, but said Jefferson and McCain are “partners in crime” in assaulting residents. He said that there are at least four other people who have come forward since the video of Glover’s arrest was shown, stating that Jefferson and McCain have also beaten them.
“I definitely want the officers all together arrested. I want them off the force, especially Jefferson and McCain,” Washington said Wednesday night. “They definitely have to go. They’re a duo that’s definitely harassed people across the city … I feel like, at this point, there’s enough evidence to remove Jefferson and McCain, enough evidence to show they have committed criminal acts — assault and battery and a host of other cases.”
Washington said he has never been in favor of “defunding the police,” like the national BLM group has proposed, adding that where there is crime, it needs to be dealt with appropriately by law enforcement.
“The idea of having protection for the people that are hopeless has always been a great idea,” Washington said. “The police department is supposed to be something beautiful.”
He said he would like to see more officers patrolling on foot and getting to know the community.
“When we’re asking for help, we’re not asking for the corrupt officers,” Washington said. “The officers are not identifying the actual problem or the crimes that the citizens are asking for help. If we’re asking for help and we have corrupt officers in that area where we need help, we need to get rid of them. They’re covering each other’s back … They’re continuously covering up their bad eggs … That’s a dangerous situation for a lot of people.”
Terry Coney, president of the Lakeland branch of the NAACP, has refrained from commenting on the matter, but made a brief statement Wednesday night: “I really trusted LPD to go through the investigation process, especially after the video came out.”
Taylor said he would provide further details when their internal affairs investigation is completed.
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