A Florida police officer was recently suspended and put under investigation after being caught on camera throwing food to an inmate and watching him struggle to eat it.
The Sarasota Police Department released raw video footage of officer Andrew Halpin tossing small bits of food to a man in handcuffs , reports WTSP.
In the nearly ten minute video, Halpin taunts Miller with small pieces of food, much like a human would treat an animal.
At one point, the apparently intoxicated and handcuffed inmate gets on the floor and uses his mouth to pick up the pieces of food, presumably peanuts, that fell.
Three other officers sit behind the desk in the background and act as spectators of the event until one approaches Halpin to hand him more food to toss to the inmate.
Later in the video, Halpin can be seen kicking the food and giving “dog commands” to Miller during the incident.
The Herald Tribune reports that Randy Miller is a homeless man who was arrested on a trespassing charge July 18. Miller has reportedly been arrested and booked into the county jail 22 times since September.
After seeing the video on Monday morning, police chief Bernadette DiPino ordered an internal affairs investigation.
“I’m disappointed in what I observed in the video, and placed the officer on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation,” she said. However, she refused to comment on the officer’s work history.
Michael Barfield, vice president of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, spoke out about the egregious conduct towards homeless people that is so common in Sarasota.
“Florida law allows for enhanced penalties when crimes are committed that show prejudice against the homeless. Instead of wrist-slapping officers, Chief DiPino and the State Attorney’s Office need to send a message that this conduct won’t be tolerated.”