By 2:00 am on May 8, Kris Massey of Lakeland, Florida had already had the worst kind of day. Sometime between 1:30 and 2:00 at least two people attempted to force entry into his home while he and his roommate were present.
The would-be home invader fired a shotgun blast through the front door that left 47 pellets in Massey’s right hand. When the Polk County Sheriff’s Department arrived, Massey’s ordeal should have been over.
The two responding officers, Sheriff’s Deputy Colletti and Detective Kurt Karakash, claimed they “smelled pot”.
Three minutes after the officers reached Massey’s home, an ambulance arrived to take Massey to the hospital. The officer’s priorities quickly became clear. Serving Massey by getting him needed medical help and protecting the community from the shotgun wielding home invader took a back seat to the “Drug War”. The ambulance sat for around 30 minutes while the officer’s questioned Massey about the “pot smell”.
Even after Massey was taken to the hospital and treated for his gunshot wounds, the officers continued to hound him with questions. Massey says that he was grilled for about five more hours while on painkillers and that at one point, his heart rate spiked up to 168 beats per minute because the officers kept asking him the same questions, “are you a drug dealer, etc” all because his apartment “smelled like pot”.
Massey told the officers he wanted to file a complaint against them. Suddenly the officers had a new priority more important than even the drug war… they needed to cover their butts.
Sometime around 7 a.m., Massey was taken back home. The sheriff’s deputies searched the entire home, and questioned his roommate while Massey was told to wait outside. They found no drugs of any kind. When they let Massey back into his home, the deputies launched what appears to be their Cover Your Ass operation, better known as CYA.
Detective Karakash claimed that Massey bumped into him in the doorway “on purpose” which constituted an assault on an officer.
The video below shows how Massey was handcuffed and coerced into a confession while still on painkillers. Massey at this point had been shot, drugged, held and questioned for hours until his heart rate skyrocketed, accused of being a drug dealer, forced to wait as his home was ransacked by the officers, handcuffed, and threatened with charges for “assaulting an officer”.
To say that Massey’s confession was done under duress is putting it mildly. Massey still maintains he did not purposefully bump the officer.
To Massey’s credit, he had the coerced confession recorded by a friend or family member. The officers took a recorded sworn statement from Massey while he was still under the influence of painkillers and effectively still under threat of arrest. In sworn statement Massey had to agree would not file a complaint.
After the sworn statement, Karakash switches up the story about which of the two officers Massey bumped. Either Karakash forget he has just been “assaulted” or more likely the entire manufactured confession was only ever about holding something over Massey to stop him from making a complaint.
Massey says he is sharing his story because he is afraid to make an official complaint after he agreed not to in his sworn statement, but he thinks the officer was in the wrong. He is afraid they will come back and arrest him for battery on an officer in retaliation if he files the complaint, and that the bumping and coerced confession were a bullying tactic designed to keep him from filing a complaint.
Ultimately the Polk County Sheriff’s Department priorities have been exposed to be disturbingly out of order. The Drug War trumps Serve and Protect and CYA is the most important of all, and they seem to be unconcerned with the shotgun wielding shooter. The final takeaway here is to always film police interactions. Massey has some really strong evidence that his confession was coerced because he kept his camera rolling after the sworn statement and caught Karakash switching around the story.