Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Orange County deputies cleared of using excessive force against local college students

Posted By on Tue, Feb 2, 2016 at 10:35 AM

click to enlarge PHOTO BY MONIVETTE CORDEIRO
  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
The Orange County Sheriff's Office has cleared three deputies of using excessive force in the July arrests of Deidra Reid and Reginald Lane Jr. 

The Orlando Sentinel reports the students filed complaints against Deputy Richard Nye, Deputy Kristine Helms and Sgt. Brett Parnell after a confrontation at an Orlando apartment complex. Reid was visiting a friend at the complex, and was trying to get into the clubhouse. A 9-year-old boy inside the clubhouse would not let her in, and after her friend opened the door for her, Reid told the boy he was rude.

The boy went to get Parnell, who is the boy's father and a courtesy officer for the complex. After a heated exchange with Reid, Parnell called Nye, another courtesy officer for the complex. When Reid, Lane and their friend tried to leave the complex, Parnell stopped them and the confrontation escalated into more officers arriving and arrests for Reid and Lane.

“They attacked me, pushed me up against the fence and dropped me on the floor while sitting on my back,” Reid wrote in her excessive force complaint. “[They] twisted my shoulder out of place while I was already in handcuffs.” Lane says in his complaint that Helms kneed him in the groin during his arrest, and he was slammed into the car by Nye, who was holding a “less lethal shotgun." 

The Office of the State Attorney later dropped the charges against Reid and Lane. 

The Sentinel reports OCSO says "investigators never received medical documentation of [Reid's] injury, and Reid didn't respond to requests to verify the claim after filing the excessive-force complaint." The Sheriff's Office says the two students did not provide interviews to them, which Reid's attorney, Natalie Jackson, says that was because there was an ongoing criminal investigation. 

Jackson says her client plans to file a civil lawsuit. 

"We would like to say we are shocked but we aren't," Jackson says in an email. "The video speaks for itself. The state attorney declined to prosecute based on the video and the sworn written affidavits of Deidra Reid and the other student witnesses (which were hand-delivered to the Sheriff's Office). The results of this investigation is the standard "we investigated ourselves and we exonerated ourselves from any wrongdoing."" 

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