A Sarasota, Florida police officer has been exposed on surveillance footage treating a handcuffed homeless man like an animal, throwing peanuts at the man while he begged for food.
Sarasota has been ranked “meanest city in America” toward the homeless, this according to a national homeless advocacy organization.
In the surveillance video we see a Sarasota police officer Andrew Halpin taunting and throwing peanuts at the handcuffed homeless man, Randy Miller at the Sarasota County jail.
The disgusting surveillance video shows Halpin treating Miller like a dog being trained to catch a treat. He appears to tease Miller when he misses, and congratulates him when he catches a peanut in his mouth. At one point you see Halpin kicking a peanut on the floor with his shoe so Halpin can eat it off of the floor. The pure contempt Halpin shows for a fellow human being just radiates from the video.
What’s even more disturbing, other deputies may have been watching this go on, while it’s unclear if they were either enjoying the show or just didn’t care to do anything about it.
The Sarasota Police Cheif, Bernadette DiPino was not aware of the incident until the video was release to the media on Monday July 27, 2015. Here’s what DiPino had to say,
“Due to the actions I’ve seen on camera, I immediately initiated an internal affairs investigation.”
The ACLU has called for Halpin to be fired. Michael Barfield, the vice-president of the ACLU of Florida described Miller’s treatment as “Humiliating,” adding:
“I was disgusted, disappointed, then started thinking about why do we always have these incidents in Sarasota?”
Barfield also claims that Halpin has had disciplinary issues within the department since he joined in 2006:
“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.”
Miller has had a long history of mental illness and run ins with law enforcement. Miller was in jail after be charged with trespassing at a local convenience store in Sarasota, while drunk. The clerk at the store in question said:
“He was drunk and harassing my customers, asking them for money. I had to call the police.”
A few months ago I wrote an article about a homeless man being interviewed outside of a gas station in Texas. Seeing this video reminds me of his words of wisdom and the sad state of affairs that is our “civilized” society today. This video will hopefully do more than just make people angry, hopefully it will make them reflect on their own humanity and what we can do to change our society. The police want us to remember that “Police Lives Matter” — maybe they should consider extending that courtesy to people like Mr. Miller first before asking the public to care about them.
Here’s the video: