Florida Police Officer Turns Off Dash Camera and Audiotape, Beats Man With Dementia, and Receives Only A Written Reprimand

In Florida, Melbourne police Officer Derek Middendorf is accused of beating a 66-year-old man suffering from dementia.  A dash camera shows Middendorf delivering a kick to the stomach of Albert Flowers, then punching him after Flowers falls to the ground. The video also shows another officer running over and tasing Flowers in the face. The beating left Flowers in the hospital for a month. Yet, the police department only issued a written reprimand for one of the officers turning off the dash camera and audio equipment. A written reprimand. That’s it.

His nephew, Garrick Flowers, was heard screaming “He’s 66 years old, he had triple bypass, I think he’s killing him.”

While the officer received a written reprimand (the video was still able to be extracted from the hard drive but the audio was lost), Flowers was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer.

The officer who tased the man in the face received no punishment.

What is interesting is that, after reviewing the record that Middendorf tried to avoid, the prosecutors reduced the felony charge to a misdemeanor of resisting an officer without violence. However, if Flowers did not use violence to resist arrest, how were the officers justified in beating him so severely that he was in the hospital for a month?

The light punishment in the case sends a clear message to officers that turning off camera equipment will receive only administrative punishment at the most. We have seen officers previously taken such action in cases involving alleged abuse (here and here and here). Such misconduct in attempting to destroy or prevent video or audio evidence should have an automatic and severe punishment for officers.

In the meantime, the charges against Flowers should be dropped and his family needs to file a lawsuit. In the absence of action from the police department, a tort lawsuit might allow for full discovery and accountability in the case.

Such cases only reinforce the importance of the public being able to film police in public despite arrests and threats over such filming from some officers.

Source: WFTV as first seen on Reddit

39 thoughts on “Florida Police Officer Turns Off Dash Camera and Audiotape, Beats Man With Dementia, and Receives Only A Written Reprimand”

  1. Given that the recording equipment can also back up an officer’s report and storage media is very cheap, the equipment should never be turned off during a work shift.

  2. Does the victim have a healthy relative? Think about revenge here folks. It is better justice than some court could meet out. The bully needs to be beaten to a pulp–one inch of his life. That would be the result if this happened in Sicily. Go get em junior.

  3. I can not access the “Injustice Everywhere” site, but thanks for the information, DownEast. My own juvenile son got illegally detained at the mall, and had to endure abusive behavior on the part of the attending officer, including accusing my son of lying and encouraging the mall to press charges when it turned out both the officer and mall supervisor had all the wrong information! The supervisor tried making nice with my son when he realized he was in error, but I am now considering my legal options. I will be meeting with an attorney soon. What in the hell is happening in this country. BTW, I *won’t* be voting for Obama, based solely on his signing of the latest version of the National Defense Authorization Act. I won’t vote for anyone who is complicit in forfeiting even more of our rights.

  4. Oh,please, are you guys really this innocent? This is Florida!! That’s Florida as in the Deep South, where the red-neck still reigns supreme and African Americans who dare to look cross-eyed at the cops get the sh-t kicked out of them. End of Story.

    There will be no court case. Mr. Flowers’ family cannot afford a hot-shot lawyer, and that is exactly what it would take to win a legal battle against the collective powers that be in the state that is as crooked as it is long.

    Of course, I would be wrong to imply that this only happens in Florida. As others have already pointed out, police brutality is rampant all over the United States, from the campus of U.C. Davis, NYC and Texas. You give a goon a gun and a taser and he’s going to use it. End of Story.

    The more we allow our civil liberties to be eroded from the top down, .the longer we stand by silently as the Obama administrations whittles away at the Constitution and hands more and more power over to the Federal police state, the more likely it is that those in local government will do the same.

  5. Why this cop isn’t in prison with his pension seized is a sad testement to the State of Florida’s views on justice. You won’t catch me leaving anything but trash in that pathetic excuse for a state.

  6. Maggi,

    Yeah, “resisting arrest w/o violence”…. WTF does that mean, he stood and held his breath??? That charge sound more like cop-speak for “pound the sh*t outta the fool”

    Go over to the Injustice everywhere site and you’ll find tons of reports and vids of cops doing exactly the same, beating, kicking, tazing, etc. One of the best/worst examples was from an OWS video, the cop is seen screaming “STOP RESISTING, STOP RESISTING ARREST!!!” at least 10 seconds before he starts beating people w/ his baton.

  7. Resisting arrest? I didn’t see any indication of the man resisting anything. Are they nuts? That officer is a disgusting bully and he should have been fired on the spot. So should that fool who ran in with a taser and zapped him. What the sam hill was that about when the man was already pinned on the ground by that 300 lb gorilla?

  8. This video is a disgusting view of blatant and possibly deadly force used upon a man who was not a threat to anyone. Secondly, the officer who used the taser also needs to be fired and brought up on charges. Is this a case where the Department of Justice with their newfound vigor could bring federal civil rights charges against these officers?
    I agree with Mespo that this vide and this case belongs in front of a jury on a civil action. The city and officers should check their insurance coverage right now because they will need it.

  9. anon,

    Without a doubt there is plenty of outrage and blame to go around and the conduct of the prosecution most certainly needs to be looked at and looked at hard, however, that they charged this man with a lesser charge does not mean that charges won’t be dropped before trial. Especially given the bad press they are getting over this. The really bad decision on their part was to opt against prosecuting the cops for felony assault. If you or I beat an old man in bad health like that, the DA would be trying to put us under the jail.

  10. Y U NO outraged at the prosecutor who can look at this video and press and charges against Flowers.

    The prosecutor and DA are sons of bitches lawyers that should be fired, and have charges brought against them for abuse of their power.

  11. I would presume that unless they had a power failure that the officer(s) involved should be permanently relieved of duty and it should be inferred that they did what the person says they did…

  12. I’m not going to watch the vid because I’ve seen it before. Often. Self-help of the basest sort is what stops this kind of thing, for awhile anyway. Anybody else remember the response to the Rodney King verdict? Why is it that official misconduct has to get so out of hand that it starts riots is what it takes for ‘the system’ to notice that the obvious problems need to be addressed. Am I the only one that thinks that given the proper set of triggers being coincidentally present will return us to such acts of self-help and that we may be overdue for it?

  13. My guess is the good people of Brevard County will soon be on the hook for a sizable court settlement. The tax payers there should demand protection from this sort of exposure through the enforcement of proper police discipline.

    Having lived there for a few years myself I know that this crosses two bedrock beliefs of most of the areas inhabitants. 1) Police can do no wrong, if you got it you had it coming and 2) Nothing should ever cost me a dime in taxes no matter how much I demand you provide it for me.

  14. “Such misconduct in attempting to destroy or prevent video or audio evidence should have an automatic and severe punishment for officers.”

    Yes, sir.

    “In the meantime, the charges against Flowers should be dropped and his family needs to file a lawsuit.”

    And I hope they take the department and these thugs with badges to the cleaners.

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