Black Lives Matter Manasota on Sunday will protest the Sarasota Police Department’s arrest of a man who they say was brutalized by the very officers he is charged with assaulting.
At about 6 p.m. Thursday, Sarasota officers responded to a home in the 1700 block of Gore Court to assist paramedics with an ill and violent patient. Police say that when they arrived, Chad Washington of Bradenton opened the door of his fiancee’s home for them but then slammed it when he saw the officers.
Police say when they were able to push open the door, Washington began punching officers and continued to punch, kick and bite officers for several minutes before they were able to handcuff him and take him into custody.
Washington was found in possession of MDMA, according to police, who said they believe he was under the influence of spice and was delirious at the time.
But Washington’s fiancee, Darnesha McMillan, who said she called 911 because he began to vomit and foam at the mouth, is giving a different account of what happened when police arrived.
Black Lives Matter is standing by McMillan’s account, the group announced in a news release Saturday evening. The group is demanding that the officers involved be fired and arrested.
Black Lives Matter along with the Rodney Mitchell Foundation and Answer Suncoast will host the protest from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Fredd Atkins Park, on the corner of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way and North Washington Boulevard.
McMillan told the Bradenton Herald on Saturday night, that she didn’t hear officers knock and assumes they just came in. They arrived before paramedics had arrived, she said.
“I know he didn’t open the door. He was trying to clean up his mess since he was coming to from whatever,” McMillan said.
Two officers then charged at Washington, she explained, and began to punch, choke and kick him inside her home. Her five children were home at the time, she said.
A video released by Black Lives Matter shows a portion of Washington’s arrest, and has been shared on social media, McMillan said. The video shows Washington on the ground between the curb and a patrol car, as he is being shocked by a Taser by one of the officers surrounding him.
“The Sarasota Police Department was aware of the video,” spokeswoman Genevieve Judge told the Bradenton Herald Saturday evening. “The video is not the entire incident and does not tell the whole story.”
McMillan said police “tased him all the way out the door. They tased him for like 15 minutes nonstop.”
Now she says Washington has some bruises and a broken nose. He remained in custody Saturday night at the Sarasota County jail.
Washington was charged with three counts of battery on a law enforcement officer and one count of possession of a controlled substance.
“He never hit an officer,” McMillan said in her statement. “Instead of them coming to help, they came to brutalize and use excessive force out of fear of him being a black male.”
Police said Washington had a warrant for his arrest for failing to appear in court, but his fiancee claims that police didn’t know that when they arrived.
“The call had nothing to do with what the cops are trying to portray,” McMillan added.
Police had no additional comment about the incident but referred to Police Chief Bernadette DiPino’s statement Friday.
“We want this to serve as a reminder to our community that no one should take illegal drugs, including spice,” the statement said. “Spice is a synthetic drug made in a laboratory that can cause individuals to be violent and disorientated. If you see someone acting this way, please call law enforcement immediately.”