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Demings Defends Officers, Calls for Changes

ORLANDO -- Orlando Police Chief Val Demings is defending her officers, but not the action that landed an elderly man in a hospital.

"This is a technique that we have done for years." Demings said. "Something definitely went wrong in this case."

An 84-year-old man remains in the hospital with a broken neck because of a police officer. Demings said changes are needed in training officers and use of force.

The chief is speaking out against the injuries Daniel Daley suffered while being arrested Saturday night. Officer Travis Lamont was the officer that arrest Daley.

Lamont said Daley, a World War II veteran, was drunk and tried to hit him. Lamont did what police call a "dynamic take down. "It's a defense tactic used commonly but never with this outcome.

"We're going to look at our policy and the training that we do at OPD and take every step needed to make sure an injury in this nature doesn't happen in the future to anybody," Demings said.

Demings stands behind Lamont. While an investigation should be finished in the next couple of weeks, Demings said it appears Lamont did the take down the right way.

Daley's attorney, Mark NeJame, disagrees.

"He did it wrong," NeJame said. "He broke a man's neck. It should have never happened. "

NeJame's investigation said Daley was never aggressive toward the officer and should never have been thrown on the ground nor should anyone else.

"To say this is an approved technique or an improved practice is completely wrong. The fact of the matter is shooting someone between the eyes is an approved practice, but you don't do it what you have here is an excessive use of force," NeJame said.

NeJame said should his investigation reveal Lamont did nothing wrong, they will walk away from the case. But he doubts that will be the outcome.

Meanwhile, Daley remains in the hospital in a medically-induced coma.

Demings said at next month's training they will talk about the use of force used in this case. She added last year OPD made 16,000 arrests and used the dynamic takedown 200 times-- never breaking any of their necks

Copyright © 2010, Central Florida News 13, LLC
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