James Armstrong | Longboat Key, FL
Longboat Key man Seeking Medical Attention Brutalized by Manatee County Sheriff Deputies in Front of Family
July 21, 2012
Longboat Key resident and family man James Armstrong was beaten and tased by Mantee County Sheriffs deputies as his wife and four-year-old daughter looked on in horror.
James Armstrong and his family had recently moved to the upscale island community of Longboat Key when on the evening of July 24, 2010 James Armstrong experienced severe abdominal pain. While enroute to Manatee Memorial Hospital, he became lost and stopped at the Manatee County Sheriff’s office to ask directions to the hospital.
An ambulance was then called and while waiting on an ambulance to arrive, James Armstrong was ordered to sit down and was interrogated by Deputy Luke regarding the use of drugs or alcohol. Deputy Luke mistook James Armstrong for someone who was under the influence. Subsequent blood tests revealed no signs of either drugs or alcohol.
Finally, when the ambulance arrived, James Armstrong got up to go outside to get in the ambulance. Deputy Smith became enraged that James Armstrong did not comply with his order to remain seated and tackled James Armstrong from behind as he attempted to leave to get into the ambulance. James Armstrong then landed face-first on the concrete. (See attached video).
Deputies Luke and Crotty joined in and proceeded to beat and taser James Armstrong. James Armstrong suffered taser burns and abrasions on his face arms and legs. Deputy Smith suffered a dislocated shoulder.
Instead of admitting their mistake and error in judgment, Manatee deputies charged James Armstrong with Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer. After being treated and released from the hospital, James Armstrong taken to the Manatee County Jail where he was processed and he subsequently posted bail.
On February 8, 2011 an evidentiary hearing was held where James Armstrong was represented by criminal defense attorney Jaime Garcia. On February 8, 2011 after conducting a full evidentiary hearing before Judge Scott Brownell, all charges were dropped against James Armstrong. Judge Scott Brownell determined that the testimony of the deputies was not credible and that the deputies actions where outside of their legal duties by wrongfully detaining James Armstrong and ordering him not to leave. James Armstrong had committed no crime and police has no probable cause to detain him. James Armstrong was simply in need of medical assisistance and trying to get to the hospital.
The State Attorney’s office was unhappy with the Judge’s ruling so they tried to push it even further by appealing to the Florida Second District Court of Appeals. A few months later the Second District Court of Appeals voluntarily dismissed the appeal which finally ended the nightmare for James Armstrong.
Although the criminal proceedings ended favorably for James Armstrong, it was not an easy battle for either James Armstrong or his family.
Only after spending many thousands of dollars on the best lawyers he could afford and with the help of forensic crime scene experts was James Armstrong able to prove his case. Manatee County Sheriff’s department refused to hand over all of the requested video footage of that evening even after a proper records requests was initiated by the attorneys for James Armstrong.
“It is a sad day when law enforcement has to charge an innocent citizen with a crime to cover up their misbehavior…and it is even a sadder day when others within the department conspire to cover it up.” commented James Armstrong in a recent interview.
“What is really alarming is that this is an all too common phenomenon in Manatee County. Unfortunately, my case was not an isolated incident” said James Armstrong. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wg21FgI4Z2E
While aiding in his own defense, James Armstrong did a tremendous amount of research to prepare for his trial and was shocked at what he found.