Unfortunately, there have been far too many headlines linked to entrusted people falling short of their titles: teachers, religious officials, and even the police included. Most recently, two cases are bringing attention to law enforcement reportedly abusing the power that comes with their badges.
Video evidence has recently appeared on the internet of three officers in Bridgeport, CT – Joseph Lawlor, Elson Morales, and Clive Higgins – stomping and kicking 27-year-old Orlano Lopez-Soto. This attack, two years ago, came after a high speed car chase and the video, from an unknown source, was posted to YouTube recently. It has since been viewed more than 130,000 times.
Many are now calling for the arrest of the police officers, who have been placed on paid administrative duty. Lopez-Soto was wearing a gun holster, but was unarmed during the attack. His gun was discovered in his car during the search, along with illegal drugs. It is reported that the man was left with several scars, body and facial contusions, and a fractured hand. Lopez-Soto has hired a personal injury attorney.
In a similar story, Matthew T. Miller of Tinton Falls, NJ has filed a lawsuit tied to his 2011 arrest. It is reported that the arresting officers, Lavin and Higazi, physically abused the man when he refused to answer questions without a lawyer present.
He claims that Higazi punched him in the face before bouncing his head off the roof of the car, after which he was refused medical attention. The police officers reported that Miller was uncooperative and was verbally accosting Eve Salamon; they had been called in to address a domestic dispute.
These cases may be far in distance from St. Petersburg, but they are just a couple of examples of the scary situations arising throughout the country. We hope to stay safe from such controversy in Saint Petersburg. In the meantime, how do you feel — are the police officers really guilty of excessive force? What should their punishments be?