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Cop Throwing Peanuts at Homeless Man Caught on Video, Dept Investigates

Image: Cop Throwing Peanuts at Homeless Man Caught on Video, Dept Investigates
(Sarasota Herald-Tribune)

By    |   Wednesday, 29 Jul 2015 12:28 PM

A Florida cop shown on video throwing peanuts into the mouth of an allegedly intoxicated man in handcuffs was placed on leave as department heads opened an investigation.

On July 18, Sarasota Police officer Andrew Halpin tossed peanuts at Randy Miller, described as being homeless, who was sitting and handcuffed at the county jail's booking room, reported the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

The video showed Miller, 44, eventually slumping to the floor and trying to eat the fallen peanuts off the ground while Halpin kicked some of them with his boot.

The video also shows other people in the booking room watching the strange interaction. One source told WFLA-TV that Halpin gave Miller what was described as "dog commands" as other law enforcement members looked on.

"I'm disappointed in what I saw in this video," Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino told WFLA-TV. "Due to the actions I've seen on camera, I immediately initiated an internal affairs investigation."

DiPino said Halpin was placed on administrative leave pending the completion of the investigation.

Michael Barfield, vice president of Florida's American Civil Liberties Union, called Miller's treatment "humiliating."

"I was disgusted, disappointed, then started thinking about why do we always have these incidents in Sarasota," Barfield told the television station. "The officer should be fired. We have to send a message that this kind of behavior is not going to be tolerated with someone who is expected to render very good judgement because they have a weapon."

"No one should ever be treated like this. This has to stop," Barfield added.

Miller had reportely been arrested for trespassing at a local convenience store while drunk.

"He was drunk and harassing my customers, asking them for money. I had to call the police," said the store clerk.

Barfield also told the Herald-Tribune that he was not surprised by Halpin's actions caught on video, but charged that the treatment of the homeless is a state issue.

"Florida law allows for enhanced penalties when crimes are committed that show prejudice against the homeless," Barfield told the newspaper. "Instead of wrist-slapping officers, Chief DiPino and the State Attorney's Office need to send a message that this conduct won't be tolerated."



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A Florida cop shown on video throwing peanuts into the mouth of an allegedly intoxicated man in handcuffs was placed on leave as department heads opened an investigation.
cop, throwing, peanuts
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2015-28-29
Wednesday, 29 Jul 2015 12:28 PM
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