Residents want answers after detective punches suspect in Facebook video

Push for citizen review board made at Titusville City Council meeting

By Jennifer Ortega - Reporter

TITUSVILLE, Fla. - Citizens in Titusville are up in arms about a video posted on Facebook last month. 

At a City Council meeting Tuesday night, dozens took to the podium to express their concerns and their desire for a citizen review board, but the Titusville police chief said it's just not necessary.

"Any citizen at any time can come in and question any of our practices or policies or incidents, so we already have that in place," Chief John Lau said. "There's really no reason for a special board."

Their calls for concern stem from a video posted to Facebook that shows a suspect accused of having drugs being punched by a Titusville police detective. That detective is now on leave, pending an internal investigation.

"We hope to see that the power is given to the people," the Rev. Johnnie Dennis said. "A citizen review board will help the police and help the citizens."

After a two-hour public comment section, the mother of the suspect arrested in the video took to the podium.

"I am glad that the majority of the persons sitting here tonight actually came out to support me, and not only myself and the community, because it could have been their children out there as well," Jennifer Hester said.

While the incident is still under investigation, the City Council said it will hold another meeting once the outcome of the case is released.

"Everybody needs to be informed and understand, what took place and as a community, they're owed that from us as a city," Vice Mayor Matt Barringer said.

The police chief said it will be another couple of weeks before the investigation is completed. It will then be up to the City Council to decide whether to move forward with a citizen review board.

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