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Sarasota Fri Nov 20, 2009 5 years ago

Police chief keeps job

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by: Robin Roy City Editor

Five months after a police officer was caught kicking a handcuffed suspect at the jail’s booking facility, City Manager Bob Bartolotta handed out discipline in the case.

Police Chief Peter Abbott, who has been on paid leave since July 26, received a two-week unpaid suspension for mishandling the investigation. The suspension is retroactive to Nov. 9, and Abbott will be back on the job tomorrow.

Officer Christopher Childers, who kicked Juan Perez after Perez climbed out a police-car window, was fired.

Officer Dimitri Konstantopoulos, who witnessed but didn’t report the kick, was suspended for one day without pay.

Larry Hobbs, city risk manager, was given a letter of reprimand for negotiating a $400 settlement with Perez without informing his supervisors.

Sgt. Kenneth Castro also received a letter of reprimand. Castro retrieved an envelope containing the check from the post office, delivered it to Perez and then drove him to the bank to cash it.

Bartolotta urged the community not to judge the entire department based on the actions of those individuals.

“The community has been following one arrest,” he said. “In that time, there were thousands of contacts from the police department that you didn’t hear about, (because they were handled properly.)”

Capt. Paul Sutton, police spokesman, said there will be a mixed reaction on today’s action within the police department.

“There’s a lot of support for the chief, so that will be received well,” Sutton said. “But there will be concern from the rank-and-file about Officer Childers.”

Sutton said he was confident Childers would appeal his termination.

Contact Robin Roy at rroy@yourobserver.com.

 

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