A Florida police officer resigned after throwing peanuts at a homeless inmate in the Sarasota County jail to degrade and mock him as he ate them off the floor.
But former Sarasota police officer Andrew Halpin has yet to face criminal charges.
The July 18th incident was captured on silent security footage while the cop reportedly gave commands to Randy Miller as if he was a dog.
Miller, 44, was not arrested for a violent crime, just the typical trespassing and failure to leave a property charges that constantly plague the homeless.
The video begins by showing Halpin tossing peanuts at Miller. And eventually the handcuffed man slides to the floor in an attempt to pick up the ones he missed with his mouth.
Instead of giving the man a hand, the deputies point and laugh. And Halpin wanders over to kick one over to him with his boot in the most dehumanizing way possible.
None of the Sarasota County sheriff’s deputies present attempt to intervene or show Miller any sort of compassion during the cruel exchange.
Once the video was made public, the officer was placed on administrative leave. Deputy Michael De Leo was also suspended for 36 hours for failing to stop it.
“Based on the actions in the video, I immediately initiated an internal investigation on Officer Halpin,” Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino said. “I’m disappointed in what I observed in the video, and placed the officer on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation.”
Halpin did not want to stick around for the outcome, however, and he turned in his letter of resignation just before he was due to speak with internal affairs for their investigation into the incident.
Prisoner’s rights advocates as well as the ACLU are calling for charges to be filed against him, and do not believe that losing his job is enough of a punishment for the clear violation of Miller.
“This is criminal conduct — abuse of a prisoner — and should be treated accordingly,” Michael Barfield, vice president of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, told the Herald-Tribune. “He should not be allowed simply to resign and to move to another agency where he can abuse someone else.”
The police chief seems to at least somewhat agree with Barfield’s sentiment, issuing a statement of disapproval following his resignation.
“We take allegations of this matter seriously and this one incident does not reflect upon the professionalism of the men and women who work hard to uphold the public trust of the Sarasota Police Department,” DiPino said. “I expect our officers to uphold the highest levels of ethical behavior and treat all citizens with dignity and respect while serving our community.”
This incident was not the first time Halpin had been disciplined for poor behavior since being hired by the department in 2006. He has been suspended or disciplined many times since, for incidents ranging from insubordination to being rude to victims. All of the complaints seem to center around him having an arrogant and abrasive personality.
In March of 2013, he received two complaints. The second one came after a fight broke out outside of someone’s home and Halpin was “extremely rude and refused to listen to anyone’s statements. He advised he was most upset with how disrespectful Ofc. Halpin had been to his stepmother, and that Ofc. Halpin had used profanities,” according to the report.
The claims were substantiated and he was suspended for five days.
The investigation was expected to be concluded on Wednesday, but as of yet, the officer has not been charged.