ORLANDO, Florida — A Florida civil rights group is demanding the resignation of Orlando Chief of Police John Mina after a video was released two weeks ago showing a police officer kicking Noel Carter, who was sitting on a sidewalk.
The president of the local chapter of the National Action Network, Lawanna Gelzer, said Orlando police have a history of abuse and that the chief has shown a lack of leadership.
“Because there have been so many cases, we are asking him to resign,” said Gelzer, speaking to a small crowd gathered outside Orlando City Hall on Monday.
She accused Orlando police officers of changing their statements once a videotape is released — like the recent video where an officer was seen kicking Carter after he argued with his girlfriend.
“The climate at the Orlando Police Department is ‘We’ll continue to do what we need to do unless we get caught,'” said Gelzer.
The City Council expressed support for Mina after he explained his department’s use of force.
Mayor Buddy Dyer said he had full confidence in the police chief. He said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the incidents. After it reports its findings, the case will be referred to the state attorney in Orlando, he said.
Mina said Carter punched one of his officers and got on top of him before video captured the officer repeatedly kicking Carter. The chief said the video of Officer David Cruz kicking Carter is “only a small piece of the picture” and he’s reserving judgment until the investigation is complete.
Attorney Natalie Jackson, who is representing Carter, pointed out that not all groups agree about the appropriate reprimands for the Orlando Police Department.
“Our Noel Carter is asking for the two officers (involved in his case) to be fired and Chief Mina to be sanctioned. There are different organizations that want different things,” she said.
Two additional witnesses who saw the incident in downtown Orlando have come forward, said their attorney, Bruce Mount.
The two brothers gave sworn statements which Mount turned over to authorities. The Orlando attorney said their statements corroborate what Carter said happened that night.
Both witnesses’ names have been withheld from media because, according to their attorney, they fear retribution.