The lawyer for an elderly man whose neck was broken last month during a confrontation with an Orlando police officer wanted the officer tested for steroids immediately after the incident, newly released documents show.
Correspondence between lawyer Mark NeJame and Orlando Police Chief Val Demings shows NeJame wanted Officer Travis Lamont tested for steroid use.
"Officer Lamont's erratic, sporadic and aggressive behavior strongly suggests that he may have been under the influence or affected by the use of steroids," NeJame's letter states. "As you are likely aware, steroid use often rapidly dissipates in the body and becomes undetectable after a relatively brief period of time."
Lamont used a "dynamic takedown" move on 84-year-old Daniel Daley Jr. on Sept. 18 outside a grocery store on N. Orange Avenue and broke the elderly man's neck. Daley, who was drunk at the time, is accused of trying to choke Lamont, prompting the officer to take him to the ground, police records show.
Daley has been hospitalized since the incident and was in a medically induced coma after surgery to repair a damaged vertebra.
Daley was angry after nearly having his car towed away from the parking lot of the Ivanhoe Grocery store. Lamont responded after a store employee called to report Daley arguing with a tow truck driver.
Demings refused to force her officer to submit to the drug testing because she said doing so would violate the officer's civil rights, governing labor laws, the collective bargaining agreement and departmental policy, according to her letter to NeJame.
"Other than your bare assertion of erratic behavior, there is no record, fact or evidence to support your claim that the officer was under the influence of steroids," Demings wrote.
Lamont, 26, joined the agency in December 2008 and has been investigated three times by the department's internal affairs division — twice for damaging his patrol car and once for making an improper arrest.
He remains on active duty.
Police also released a copy of Daley's notice of intent to sue to police department. The two-page letter states Daley intends to file a lawsuit regarding civil rights and due process violations, excessive force, privacy rights violations, slander and defamation.
Source: Orlando Sentinel