Simple trespassing exploded
An Orlando police officer is on trial for beating a homeless man so badly he has permanent brain damage.
into something much worse
In September 2005, Officer Ed Michael responded to a call from the Rosemont Baptist Church. Jeffrey Goff, mentally ill and homeless, was trespassing. A deputy was called, but Goff would not let go of the Bible he was holding to surrender a fingerprint and the deputy could not handcuff him. There was some kind of struggle and OPD was called for back-up.
That's when the simple trespassing exploded into something much worse. The sheriff's report says Officer Michael threw Goff against the ground, shot him with a taser until it ran out of power, struck him with a baton and punched him so hard it crushed bones in his face.
In opening statements, prosecutors said Officer Michael had no reason to use such force. Although Goff is a paranoid schizophrenic, he was able to live on his own until he was beaten by Officer Michael. They said Goff was lying on his hands, so there was no way he could have taken a swing at Officer Michael as the officer claims.
Michael is over 6 feet tall and weighed more than 200 pounds at the time. Goff, 44, is 5-foot-4 and weighed 140 pounds at the time.
In his six years on the force, Michael has been investigated seven times by his own department.