APOPKA, Fla. – A use of force investigation found that an Apopka police officer didn't act improperly when he used force on a car burglary suspect but he and other officers violated department procedures in other ways.
The report released Monday stems from an arrest on July 30 that involved a suspect hitting his head on the concrete, causing him to temporarily lose consciousness and suffer a hairline fracture on his cheek.
Police said they were called to East Myrtle Street in reference to two men, later identified as Dalton Matthew Mosley and Billy Durrance, who were burglarizing vehicles in the area.
A perimeter was set up but, when officers were unable to locate the suspects after an extensive search, they decided to call off their efforts. Shortly thereafter, an officer located the men lying under a bush in a yard and notified other officers, the report said.
Baker arrested Durrance while Officer Kenyon Friedline attempted to arrest Mosley.
A captain who reviewed body camera video from the arrest said that Friedline and Mosley struggled, which caused them both to fall through a wooden fence. At some point, Friedline performed a leg sweep that resulted in Mosley hitting his head on the concrete sidewalk.
In body camera video, Friedline can be heard repeatedly cursing at Mosley during the altercation.
"You ready to go to (expletive) prison for a little while?" Friedline asks.
Moments later, he can be heard cursing again, saying, "Let's get these guys' (expletive) face on the (expletive) news."
The report claims that Friedline knew that Mosley lost consciousness after he hit his head on the concrete, but he never notified firefighters, who responded to the scene to treat Mosley and Durrance.
Officer Austin Bitter, whose body camera stopped recording as Mosley was unconscious on the sidewalk, took photographs of Mosley's injuries but never submitted them as part of a supplemental report, as he should have, according to documents.
While the internal investigation was underway, Apopka Police Chief Randy Fernandez had multiple conversations about the investigation, which is against department policy. Fernandez stepped down in February before he could be interviewed about abuse of power allegations against him.
The report shows the allegations of abuse of authority and sharing confidential information were not sustained.
Friedline was cleared of wrongdoing for use of force but he and other officers violated department policy in other ways. Below is a list of the allegations that were found to be credible, according to the report:
- Friedline behaved in an abusive and unprofessional way and exhibited "conduct unbecoming of an officer" by repeatedly cursing at Mosley. He failed to file a supplemental report after the arrest and he failed to keep his body camera on during the arrest.
- Bitter violated department procedure by failing to file a supplemental report, failing to upload photos of Mosley's injuries and by turning off his bodycamera video.
- Officer Christopher Clutter violated department policy by not notifying paramedics of the extent of Mosley's injuries and not including everything he witnessed in the supplemental report he filed about the arrest.
- Sgt. Daniel Colley violated department policy by not ensuring that photos from the scene were uploaded into the department's evidence system.
- Lt. Christopher Hanstein violated policy by failing to make sure all the reports were properly filed and contained accurate information.
An Apopka Police Department spokesperson said Friedline has not yet been punished.
Jeffrey Kaufman, an attorney for Mosley, provided the following statement about the report:
"While we greatly appreciation law enforcement, the acts committed against Dalton Mosley were absolutely unacceptable. We fully support the actions taken by The Apopka Police Department in response to this terrible occurrence, but wish proper training and accountability measures were in place before it happened. Based on the information we have received, it seems like a thorough investigation was done and we hope that all responsible parties will be held accountable," the statement read.