According to the Daily Beast, a Florida deputy is the focus of an internal affairs investigation after body-camera footage from 2017 recorded him not only repeatedly calling a black father “boy”, but grabbing him by the neck during a profanity-laden confrontation.
The internal investigation into Deputy James Cady, who reportedly has a history of making false arrests, was announced by the Broward Sheriff’s Office after a complaint was filed by the Broward Public Defender’s Office in light of the body-cam footage emerging last month.
“This video depicts a clear display of police abuse,” public defender Howard Finkelstein wrote to the sheriff’s office in a Jan. 30 letter. “In addition, Deputy Cady’s use of the term “boy” is offensive, condescending and demeaning. It carries racial connotations when used while addressing an adult black male.”
The video, recorded by Cady’s body camera outside of a Dania Beach hotel in July 2017, begins with the officer asking the victim Allen Floyd, a black man who’s calmly holding his infant son, if he has a “separate” room at the Red Carpet Inn before demanding to see his identification.
In the video, Floyd, in a move Finkelstein described as an attempt to “de-escalate” the situation, tells the deputy his name and says he can “look [him] up.”
“If you lie to me one time, I’m taking your ass to jail,” Cady replies. “You understand me?”
Floyd then questions why Cady is “yelling” at him, and asks the deputy to stop calling him “boy.” As the father begins to walk away, Cady grabs him by the right arm.
“The officer then grabs him by his neck while he’s holding a 9-month-old child in his hands, and pushes him against the car, and at no point in time does Mr. Floyd respond in an aggressive manner,” Gordon Weekes, executive chief of Broward Public Defender’s Office, said in a statement.
In the video, Floyd can be seen stretching his arms wide open.
“I don’t want no problems with y’all,” Floyd says, relenting and showing his identification. “You are standing there calling me boy, grabbing me by my neck.’”
While Floyd wasn’t arrested, he opted against pursuing legal action against Cady due to fears that he would lose custody of his son.
“I just wanted to forget and have no trouble with the police department,” Floyd said. “The situation was hurtful, and I didn’t want to cause attention to myself in case they took my son away. But when you call a black man boy, it’s like you’re degrading his character.”
The Miami Herald notes that the probable cause affidavit, which is available on the Broward County Courts website under Case No. 17008749CF10A, has no mention of Cady among the deputies present during the incident, as well as additional discrepancies. Such as there being no mention of Floyd or an explanation as to why the deputies descended upon the Red Carpet Inn.
But of equal importance, a look into Cady’s personal file reveals a distributing pattern of behavior:
Cady’s personnel file includes at least two previous Internal Affairs investigations, including for conduct unbecoming of an employee and use of force in 2003. At the conclusion of both cases, a one-day suspension was recommended.
“He was found liable for tasering, tackling and beating an individual in 2009,” Finkelstein alleged in his letter, citing a federal lawsuit filed by William Pineiro.
Pineiro, who was awarded $250,000 in total damages by a federal judge in 2011, was arrested by Cady during a party in Dania Beach. He said Cady tackled him “like a football player” after questioning his name and badge number.
“What the fuck, you want to be arrested, too?” Cady allegedly said after Pineiro asked why his friends were getting arrested, according to the lawsuit.
The couple who hosted the Dania Beach party settled separately for $350,000 in 2013 after claiming the officer wrongfully arrested them over a noise complaint and stunned them “several times” with a taser. Three deputies, including Cady, were also named in the suit.
“There is a pattern of behavior here that needs to be addressed,” said Weekes.