A St. Johns County family came forward in January 2020 with video footage of police officers brutally beating their son during a traffic stop. The videos were recorded by a witness who later gave them to the victim’s family. After the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office became aware of the videos, three of the officers who were involved in the incident were placed on paid administrative leave.
News 4 Jax said it all happened on December 29, 2019, after a Florida Highway Patrol trooper pulled Christopher Butler over after witnessing him driving 15 mph along Interstate 95. The officer stopped Butler on County Road 210 and shortly after, a witness began recording video of the traffic stop on his cellphone. When the witness began recording, St. Johns County deputies had already arrived to help the trooper get Butler out of his vehicle.
Although it was dark outside while the video was recording, Butler can be heard “screaming and moaning” as a taser had been deployed. Moments after that, another officer came at Butler with a baton. The man’s mother who later received the video from the witness said that “they kneed Christopher in the face and punched him in the face inside the car.” Officers were also seen kicking him while he was on the ground. She told the source “They beat him so many times with the baton. They kept punching and my kid ended up at the hospital in critical care.”
Family of St. Johns County Man Files Complaint Against Officers Who Beat Him
While Butler’s mother believes the video depicted officers applying excessive force against her son, the report from the sheriff’s office stated that Butler was being uncooperative and failed to follow officer commands. In the police report, the FHP officer stated that he deployed his taser and Butler went to the ground. The report also highlighted that “Butler began taking off his pants and a St. Johns County deputy said he hit Butler several times to the side of the face but [that] he was not phased and yelled he was Jesus Christ.” The deputies also alleged that Butler tried to fight them and even bit one of the deputies.
The incident is being investigated and the officers involved shall remain on leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Police officers should never apply a level of force that exceeds what is reasonably necessary.
Although police officers in St. Johns County or Cocoa, FL may have a viable reason for pulling you over, they shouldn’t resort to violence in order to get a suspect to comply. If an officer in Cocoa, FL was violent or aggressive toward you and you feel the level of force was excessive, you might have a valid case against the officer(s) who inflicted the harm. To find out if you have the grounds to sue, contact Templeton Law P.A. at 321-261-5517 to speak with a Cocoa, FL police brutality lawyer.