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Police chief to learn fate

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  • | 5:00 a.m. November 19, 2009
  • Sarasota
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Sarasota Police Chief Peter Abbott has been on paid leave since July for his handling of an incident in which a police officer kicked a handcuffed arrestee. Friday, he will learn whether he will be reinstated, suspended longer or fired.

The city is expected to release Friday the 3,000-page internal-affairs report on the events that followed the June 26 arrest of Juan Perez on disorderly intoxication charges. Any possible punishments of the police officers and city employees involved also will be revealed Friday.

Perez was inside officer Christopher Childers’ car at the jail’s booking facility. He climbed out the window and fell to the ground. When he tried to get up, Childers kicked him twice in the torso and knocked him back to the ground.

Although he was informed immediately of the incident, Lt. Kenneth Rainey, the police department’s shift commander that day, did not report it to his supervisor for 12 days.

Once Abbott was informed, he asked the city Risk Manager Larry Hobbs to make a settlement offer to Gomez-Perez in exchange for waiving his right to sue the city.

The lead detective in the case, Sgt. Kenneth Castro, also was asked to help negotiate that deal.
Hobbs and Castro visited Gomez-Perez Saturday, July 11, and gave him $400.

Abbott and Hobbs did not keep City Manager Bob Bartolotta informed of the case and their actions. Bartolotta asked members of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office to investigate the police department and city government employees involved in the kicking its aftermath.

The state attorney’s office found no evidence that Childers committed a crime in his handling of Perez, and a preliminary release of the internal-affairs report concluded that no one involved in the incident and its aftermath “engaged in illegal, unethical or immoral conduct.”

Visit throughout the day Friday for continued coverage.

Contact Robin Roy at [email protected].