Gainesville Police Department Terrorizes Dignity Village; A Homeless Camp

The video abovtmp_17635-_20150727_125001-1348172653e was sent to me via the CopBlock.org submission tab and shows a horrific video of Gainsville Police officer John Maloney repeatedly bashing the head of John Smith so hard and often that he broke his hand. According to the ‘official’ police statement:

Just before 6pm, Officer John Maloney and Officer Ashley DeCurtis were dispatched to Dignity Village after an anonymous caller reported a disturbance.  The officers were unable to locate any disturbance but remained to conduct an increased patrol of the camp.  The officers saw John Smith, 43 who they knew was wanted on felony drug charges.  Smith is a registered sexual offender and convicted felon with a history of resisting or obstructing police.  Smith has been the subject of a month’s long narcotics investigation after GPD received numerous complaints about drugs and other crime at Dignity Village.  Smith was identified as being responsible for selling illegal narcotics to residents there.

The officers identified Smith and attempted to place him under arrest for the felony drug warrant.

Smith immediately resisted these efforts and attempted to pull away from the officers, who then took him to the ground.  Smith kept his arms tucked underneath his body and refused officer’s commands to put his arms behind his back.  The officers did not know at the time if Smith was concealing a weapon.  It was later discovered that Smith was in fact concealing additional illegal drugs.  Officer Maloney delivered elbow and fist strikes to a specific point on Smith’s shoulders in an attempt to force Smith to release his arms.  When these were ineffective, Maloney then transitioned to delivering knee strikes in an attempt to distract Smith’s attention.  Smith struck Maloney in the face several times during the arrest.

While Officer Maloney and DeCurtis were fighting with Smith, a crowd of 50-60 angry Dignity Village residents descended upon the officers.  Kenyatta L. Brown, 38 who also has a history of resisting or obstructing police approached and punched Officer Maloney several times in his head.

Officer DeCurtis then diverted her attention to the growing crowd in an attempt to keep them away from Maloney while he was securing Smith.  Multiple people approached her and pushed Officer DeCurtis.  One person who has yet to be identified actually attempted to remove her gun belt.

The officers requested emergency backup and multiple officers from both ASO and GPD responded.  Officers were finally able to get Smith in custody, followed by Brown.  Two other persons were arrested for obstructing the investigation.  Roy Jones, 53 was arrested for continuing to advance on Officer Maloney during the arrest.  When officers attempted to secure Jones, Alicia Chavez, 43 grabbed Jones and attempted to pull him away from officers effecting his arrest.  Chavez also has a history of resisting or obstructing police and was arrested in 2014 for striking an officer attempting to make an arrest.

Officer Maloney suffered a broken hand during the incident, and Officer DeCurtis suffered other injuries to her head and arms.  Both officers are currently unable to work due to their injuries.

banner420The person who submitted this story, yet want to remain anonymous – because police plan on coming back (more on that later), tells a different account of what happened:

In the video, Maloney is seen mounted on the back of a prone lying and non-aggressive Smith. Despite various witnesses informing Officer Maloney that Smith is handicapped, and cannot lift his arm in the manner he demands, Officer Maloney continues to reign down heavy and forceful blows to the Smith’s neck, shoulder, and face with his fists and elbows. No one witnessed Smith punch Maloney or Decurtis, he merely tried to not get arrested (he ran).

Meanwhile female Officer Ashley Decurtis is seen pushing away a single female member of a crowd, consisting of about 7 people, who asks the officer to cease his brutality. She is later directed to the far end of the area, where she runs to assist in the arrest of another individual approximately 30 or more meters away from the scene where Smith was arrested. The individual she and other officers assisted in arresting was released minutes later, which would suggest they used the subject as a distraction to take focus off of the abuse of Smith. Throughout the entire video, Officer Ashley Decurtis is unharmed, yet she claims that she suffered injuries to her head and arms which leave her unable to work. She even posts a picture on her instagram after the event in which no injuries are seen. She also claims that an individual attempted to remove her gun belt, though no one was seen reaching for her belt through the video.
After the arrest, Smith was found with less than 20 grams of marijuana on his person and is now in the Alachua County Jail.

The crowd Gainesville Police Department lies and says consisted of about 40 to 50 people was a lie, as shown in the video.
The claims of injuries to the head and arms, as well as an individual attempting to remove her gun belt were lies.

 

To be honest I would expect both sides to tell a story favorable to their side or perspective. What I’m looking at is the overall picture.

First off, I’m not willing to vilify someone for their past. I’m not sure what sexual crimes or convictions that Smith had, and for this story, they really don’t matter. The police were not in Dignity Village to arrest Smith for such crimes. They were there on an unrelated called and noticed Smith, who’s wanted for a victimless crimes, so the government trying to paint this man as bad – thus deserving of excessive force – is already questionable to me.

Second, regardless of whether Smith took off I don’t believe Maloney needed to use that much force to subdue him. Nearly the entire time the camera is recording Smith never even gets a chance to get off the ground, let alone strike either officer. Again, if he had before the video started he still wouldn’t deserve the additional punches and kicks to the face that he got after being pinned to the ground. Additionally, Officer Decurtis doesn’t seem too concerned that her partner is in the ‘fight of his life.’ From the video it seems that she’s not really needed or being effective at all. A number of times during the struggle someone could have gotten to Malony, so she wasn’t even protecting her partner either. If the threat from Smith was that real, why didn’t she provide back up?

So what is going on here? Well that’s simple, the police were doing what they always do… terrorizing the neighborhood. The police say they get ‘complaints’ about drug use and prostitution that may go on in Dignity Village. Yet, most of those activities are of peaceful, of consensual nature and bare no victim. Therefore, the solution isn’t to bring in more police, who have a monopoly on force and the desire to use it, it’s to keep the police out of Dignity Village. Yet, according to GPD spokesman Ben Tobias, whom praised the professionalism of the two officers during the violent encounter, the exact opposite is going to happen.

“We as police are expected to bring order to areas where there is disorder” Tobias said. “These officers were attempting to arrest a wanted convicted felon that is responsible for some of that disorder when the crowd turned on them. I’m proud that we were able to control the situation with the most reasonable force required. This situation could have been a lot worse. In this case an officer was forced to strike a suspect. Strikes never look ‘good’ but it appears that they were done properly within training.” – Ben Tabias

Sadly it seems that Dignity Village is about to be run over by people who have no dignity at all.

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Ademo Freeman

was born and raised in Wisconsin, traveled the country in a RV dubbed "MARV" and is an advocate of a voluntary society, where force is replaced with voluntary interactions. He's partaken in projects such as, Motorhome Diaries, Liberty on Tour, Free Keene, Free Talk Live and is the Founder of CopBlock.org. ____________________________________________________________________________ If you enjoy my work at CopBlock.org, please, consider donating $1/month to the CopBlock Network or purchasing CopBlock.org Gear from the store. ____________________________________________________________________________ Find Ademo at these social networks: Facebook Twitter Youtube