Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Simple trespassing exploded
into something much worse

An Orlando police officer is on trial for beating a homeless man so badly he has permanent brain damage.

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.


At 9:07 PM, Blogger FOP 25 Media Relations said...

Press Release

Fraternal Order of Police
Lodge 25

Orlando, FL
June 22, 2007

Jury Understands, Prosecutor Doesn't

The Fraternal Order of Police, which represents the men and women of the Orlando Police Department, is pleased but not surprised by the jury’s verdict in Officer Edward Michael’s trial of Not Guilty on all counts.

Officer Michael’s innocence has been evident from the beginning; however, the State Attorney’s Office chose to ignore the obvious and not to research how the injuries actually occurred to Mr. Goff. The evidence presented at trial, clearly demonstrated that Officer Michael’s actions were necessary, reasonable and completely within departmental guidelines and training.

It is our sincere belief that had Officer Michaels not been a POLICE OFFICER no charges would have been brought. We as Police Officers simply ask, in fact, we demand to be treated with the same fairness and impartiality that the citizens we police are afforded. Our officers come to work with two intentions, to proactively protect our citizens and to respond to their calls for help or service.

The over zealous prosecution of police officers who are doing nothing more than their sworn duties must cease. The only way for police to effectively protect and serve a community is for the community to stand behind its police force. During the trial, the prosecutor used the following phrase repeatedly when referring to Police Officers, “With great power comes great responsibility.” In fact, that philosophy would be an appropriate goal for the State Attorney’s Office to uphold.

The abuse of such power can lead to the same situation that occurred in the Duke University case. To unnecessarily prosecute officers who have not violated criminal laws undermines the effectiveness of our officer’s and erodes the support of the community they serve.

For more information contact Fraternal Order of Police Labor Committee Chairman Sam Hoffman at 407-832-1975 or Lodge President Jeff William's at 407-832-1973.



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