Palm Bay police recorded punching suspect during arrest; chief says officers acted within department policy

Video shows arrest of Jacob Mitchell at Palm Bay Club Condominiums

PALM BAY, Fla. – Palm Bay’s police chief is defending the action of his officers after video surfaced showing them punching a man during an arrest.

Surveillance video clips at the Palm Bay Club Condominiums show officers confronting Jacob Mitchell Sunday morning after police said the man called 911 and admitted he lied to dispatchers about seeing some teenagers pointing guns at each other.

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An arrest report reads the two officers then moved to arrest Mitchell for the false reports but he refused to comply.

Two more video clips shared with News 6 from a friend of Mitchell’s show police using a Taser, which the report reads was ineffective on Mitchell, and then police throwing punches which injured Mitchell’s face.

Strikes could be seen in both clips because police said the first time Mitchell was taken to the ground he was able to run away.

In all 13 videos that were shared, none of them appeared to include when police said Mitchell reached for Officer Cole McDonald’s vest which held his Taser, handcuffs and a knife.

Mitchell’s friend said his camera has a motion sensor and that there are seconds between each of the clips.

Police said the footage is now part of the evidence for the case.

Mitchell is now out of jail on bond and was unable to be reached Wednesday.

A spokesperson said police were unable to be interviewed for this story, as well.

News 6 requested body camera footage and requested audio of Mitchell’s call to 911.

Police provided a statement attributed to Chief Mario Augello:

“On the morning of December 11, 2022, at approximately 0030 hrs., officers responded to the 2700 block of Pinewood in reference to an armed disturbance where the caller indicated there were multiple subjects in the parking lot engaged in a verbal argument. The caller then advised he observed a male display a firearm and pointing the firearm at another individual. The caller then hung up and was unable to be contacted again. Officers arrived on scene and were unable to locate any subjects matching the description provided by the caller. Later, during a follow up investigation, officers were able to locate the individual who made the call. While speaking to the caller, he admitted to falsifying the report. As officers were attempting to place him under arrest, the subject, identified as Jacob Mitchell, DOB 5/23/2000, tried to fight the officers’ attempts by grabbing at the officer’s waist and eventually trying to pull away from the officers. He was subsequently tased. The taser had no impact on Mitchell, as he fell forward, turned around to grab at the officers’ vests and equipment that contained their tasers, cameras, knives, and other equipment. As Mitchell was grabbing the officer’s vest, he was able to change one of the officer’s radio channels rendering it useless to call for help. Due to Mitchell still actively resisting and failing to comply to the officers’ directions, officers attempted to physically restrain and gain compliance of Mitchell. Mitchell was able to defeat this attempt and pull away fleeing on foot. Officers deployed their taser yet again at which time Mitchell fell to the ground and was able to be placed into handcuffs. Medical personnel were summoned to the scene where Mitchell was treated for facial injuries and transported to a local hospital. On December 12th, Mitchell was released from the hospital and turned over to the Brevard County Jail. After an extensive administrative review, the Office of Professional Standards found that the actions conducted by the officers involved acted in accordance with department policy.”

Chief Mario Augello, Palm Bay Police Department

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About the Author:

James joined News 6 in March 2016 as the Brevard County Reporter. His arrival was the realization of a three-year effort to return to the state where his career began. James is from Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Penn State in 2009 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.