Marion County, FL — In August of 2014, multiple deputies with the Marion County Sheriff’s office conducted a drug bust. During the bust, Derrick Price ran from deputies Jesse Terrell, Trevor Fitzgerald, James Amideo, Cody Hoppel and Adam Crawford. However, once he realized he could not outrun the pickup truck, he quickly stopped, put his hands up, and laid face down on the ground — completely surrendering.
Upon reaching the unarmed, nonviolent, completely compliant, and prostrate man, the deputies proceeded to unleash a furious beating composed of kicks to the head, knees to the body, and countless blows from fists.
Price was left severely beaten and bloodied in the parking lot after the assault. The deputies would go on to lie and claim that Price was combative and resisting. Luckily for Price, however, the entire gang beating was captured on video.
The court documents describe the beating:
The court documents read as follows, where Cody Hoppel, Adam Crawford, and Jesse Terrell are respectively referred to in court documents as deputies 1, 2, and 3.
“The video footage depicts the unnecessary and unreasonable use of force by three deputies who beat, kicked, and kneed a fully compliant Price while Amidei and Fitzgerald failed to intervene to protect the arrestee, despite having the opportunity to do so. Deputy 2 kneeled down at the right side of Price’s head and shoulder, Deputy 3 positioned himself immediately above Price’s head, Deputy 1 took a position at Price’s left side, and Fitzgerald straddled the back of Price’s legs as Deputy Amidei hovered above the deputies directly behind Deputy 1. At no time did Price resist the deputies or pose a threat in any fashion. After Deputy 2 initially grabbed Price’s left arm from Price’s right side, pinning Price’s right arm to the ground, Deputies 1, 2, and 3 began beating Price as [he] lay on the ground.”
The video was released this week by the state attorney for the Fifth Judicial Circuit and immediately after its release, Marion County Sheriff Chris Blair held a news conference.
“The abusive and unprofessional actions they displayed shocked me to my core, and there was absolutely no hesitation for me to immediately inform the Florida Department of Law Enforcement of their actions, to immediately suspend those former deputies without pay and, ultimately, to request their resignation and/or termination,” said Blair.
Since the incident in August of 2014, deputies Fitzgerald, Amideo, Hoppel, and Crawford all pleaded guilty to federal civil rights violations. However, despite the assault occurring over 18 months ago, not one of these officers has been sentenced.
This week, a grand jury indicted Jesse Terrell who, for some odd reason, is maintaining his innocence. From what the video shows, not one officer on the scene is innocent. Even the fifth officer, who chose not to take out his pent-up aggression on a man whose only ‘crime’ was to do with his own body what he wanted, is guilty. He is an officer of the law, and he did not attempt to stop the crime of assault on a nonviolent man.
According to Reuters, Terrell’s attorney expected that his case would go to trial, saying that his situation differed from the guilty officers.
“Jesse is not guilty. He is not guilty of anything,” said attorney Charles Holloman. He declined to elaborate on why Terrell’s behavior differed from that of the other officers.
Watch the video, and then ask yourself why so many people, both innocent and guilty, so often run from police. Derrick Price was a threat to no one. He wasn’t ‘armed,’ ‘reaching for his waistband,’ ‘charging at the officers,’ ‘making threatening movements,’ ‘resisting,’ or any of the other bogus excuses used by police when doling out brutal beat downs.
Perhaps the most chilling aspect of this Rodney King-style beating of Derrick Price is the fact that had the camera not caught these officers in their brutal display, the world would all still believe these men are heroes. What’s more, even in spite of this video, there is most likely a large sect of society who still believe they are.