Florida cop on leave after video shows him throwing peanuts at inmate, taunting him

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Shirleen Allicot has the story. (WABC)

Civil rights advocates in Florida are outraged after video shows a police officer appearing to treat an inmate like an animal by taunting him with food.

In the video, a homeless man is in handcuffs while the officer throws peanuts in his mouth, like a circus animal, commanding him to catch it. The inmate misses a peanut and starts looking for where it fell. The officer then throws another peanut - seemingly congratulating himself when it is caught.

The cop then laughs at the homeless man and leans back to get a better look, while the inmate searches for the peanut he missed.

"I was disgusted, disappointed, then started thinking about why do we always have these incidents in Sarasota?" said Michael Barfield, vice president of the ACLU in Florida.

Barfield called what happened here humiliating and said officer Andrew Halpin has had disciplinary problems before with the department. The ACLU maintains this cop should be fired.

"We have to send a message that this kind of behavior is not going to be tolerated," Barfield said.

The video shows Halpin going back for more, taunting this homeless man by leaning back and forth with another peanut, teasing the inmate, even giving him dog commands, according to sources. The man under arrest is 44-year-old Randy Miller, who has a long rap sheet, mostly trespassing charges, including this arrest. Miller is seen crawling on the ground, eating the peanuts he missed off the floor, all while cops are watching.

Officer Halpin has been with the department since 2006 and is now on paid administrative leave while internal affairs investigates.

The ACLU plans to meet soon with the chief, and they also want to meet with Miller.

Related Topics:
policeinmatescivil rightshomelessu.s. & worldFlorida
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