Florida officers arrested for killing inmate; Minneapolis PD surveilled black people online

Jailhouse murder

Four Florida Department of Corrections officers were arrested over the weekend for allegedly beating an inmate to death. Ronald Connor, 24, Christopher Rolon, 29, Kirk Walton, 34, and Jeremy Godbolt, 28, face charges including second-degree murder, conspiracy, aggravated battery of an elderly adult, and cruel treatment of a detainee.

The four officers stand accused of killing Ronald Gene Ingram, 60, on Feb. 14 at the Dade County Correctional Institution. Ingram was being held in a mental health unit, serving life for first-degree murder, when the officers arrived to transfer him to a different prison. Ingram reportedly threw urine at one of the officers. Angered, they handcuffed him, removed him from his cell, and allegedly “kicked and stomped him out of view of video surveillance cameras.”

Godbolt slapped him “multiple times” and said “you should’ve never threw piss on me,” the sergeant later admitted to agents. Other officers joined in, even though Ingram “was handcuffed and not fighting back,” one witness said. Loud thumps and bangs were heard throughout the hallway, the warrant said.

As he crumpled to the ground, the officers continued to “kick and stomp” Ingram, before he was finally raised to his feet and walked down a hall, where three officers continued to “strike” and taunt him. “This yo breakfast,” Rolon allegedly told Ingram.

As the prisoner escort arrived to the main control building, one witness noticed blood streaming from Ingram’s lip, and a bruised left eye. “Ingram appeared to have difficulty breathing, taking deep gasps,” the witness told agents.

Video obtained by State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle shows the officers dragging Ingram into a transport van, where he was later found deceased. An autopsy revealed blunt force injuries, including a punctured lung, that caused “extensive internal bleeding.”

Charges not pursued

The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office dropped charges against a West Palm Beach officer arrested for beating up a trespasser in 2019.

Officer Nicholas Lordi faced aggravated battery charges after punching 65-year-old John Monroque “up to 11 times and breaking his nose.”

A struggle ensued between the officers and victim as they tried to put handcuffs on him. Monroque “did not allow himself to be handcuffed,” the report stated. Investigators said Lordi then pulled the victim backward and they both fell to the ground. Lordi then put Monroque in a headlock and punched him in his head and face approximately six times.

During that time, Monroque did not hit Lordi back. Lordi then rolled the victim onto his stomach, sat on top of him, then hit him approximately five more times in his head and face.

The arrest report states that Monroque was “disrespectful” and tried to grab the second officer’s gun magazine, leading the officers to use force.

Lordi said that when he was on top of Monroque, he had delivered a few “softening strikes” to the man’s face…The FDLE said Lordi “used force in excess of what was necessary to mitigate the incident” and “intentionally or knowingly caused great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement” to the victim.

Now, months after his arrest, prosecutors decided not to pursue charges against Lordi. According to a memorandum filed by the assistant state attorney, body camera footage shows that during the struggle the second officer yelled “gun!”

It says Lordi grabbed Monroque from behind and struck him to stop an attack on the second officer. “Under the law, both officers reasonably reacted to what they perceived as an immediate threat of serious harm to themselves,” it says.

Lordi is back on modified duty, despite his previous involvement in 15 use of force incidents, four citizen complaints, and five disciplinary actions.

Killed over Pokemon cards

Osceola County Sheriff officers shot and killed a young man who stole Pokemon cards and a pizza from Target on Wednesday, leading to questions about whether shoplifting should be a death sentence.

More than a dozen units responded to a suspicious vehicle call at a Target in Kissimmee (just south of Orlando), Florida. The Loss Prevention team informed the officers that two men were leaving the store without paying for their items; the police observed the duo getting into a car with two other occupants.

“While on the phone with me, [a Target employee] confirmed the two suspects exited the store without paying for a pizza and multiple packs of Pokemon cards. Target desires prosecution for the theft,” the report says. “I later reviewed the video surveillance which confirmed the two suspects selected an empty Target shopping bag, multiple packs of Pokemon cards and a pizza; all which were concealed and not paid for by the suspects.”

The sheriff’s office states “a takedown [of the car] was attempted which resulted in an officer-involved shooting.” Two of the men, 18-year-old Michael Gómez and 19-year-old Joseph Lowe, were injured by the gunfire. The name of the man who was killed has not been released.

Sheriff Marcos López said that two deputies were involved in the shooting, but will not release their names either, citing a law meant to protect victims of crime.

There is no indication any of the shoplifting suspects were armed.

BLM protest

A Philadelphia police officer was arrested for his role in the violent assault of a woman who was pulled from her car during a 2020 racial justice protest.

On October 26, 2020, Walter White Jr., in the midst of a mental health crisis, was shot and killed by police officers. Protests erupted across the city, leading to the deployment of the Pennsylvania National Guard. During one of these protests, 29-year-old mother Rickia Young was driving home after picking up her teenage nephew from the area. Her 2-year-old son was in the backseat.

Young said she went to West Philadelphia to pick up her friend’s teenage son, whom she refers to as her nephew. She said she was driving down Chestnut Street toward 52nd Street when she encountered agitators who were throwing debris at police. She tried to make a U-turn, she said, when about two dozen police officers, some with shields, encircled her vehicle and demanded she get out.

Police surrounded her SUV, broke its windows with batons, pulled Young and her nephew to the ground, and threw them on the ground (video). Young suffered numerous injuries during the confrontation. The officers took her toddler from the car, telling her he would be taken “to a better place.”

The National Fraternal Order of Police later posted a photo of a white officer holding Young’s son with a caption that read: “This child was lost during the violent riots in Philadelphia … the only thing this Philadelphia Police officer cared about in that moment was protecting this child.”

The City of Philadelphia paid Young a $2 million settlement. Former officer Darren Kardos, 42, was charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, possession of an instrument of a crime, reckless endangerment, and criminal mischief. No other officers have been charged.

Minneapolis racism

The Minneapolis Police Department engaged in “a pattern or practice of race discrimination,” violating the Minnesota Human Rights Act countless times over the past decade according to a new report by the state’s Department of Human Rights released Wednesday.

A pattern or practice of discrimination is present where the denial of rights consists of something more than isolated, sporadic incidents, but is repeated, routine, or of a generalized nature. Such a showing may be made through statistical evidence and/or other examples of specific instances of discrimination

The probe, which was opened after the death of George Floyd, included 700 hours of body-cam footage, and over 450,000 pages of City and MPD documents, including training materials and disciplinary records. The report’s main finding was that MPD officers “use force, stop, search, arrest, and cite people of color, particularly Black individuals,” at a higher rate than white people:

  • A review of 300 use of force cases between 2010 and 2020 found that officers “used unnecessary and inappropriate levels of force in 52.6 percent of incidents in which they used a neck restraint.”
  • Black people represented 63 percent of the use of force victims, despite making up 19% of the population of Minneapolis.
  • “People of color and Indigenous individuals comprise approximately 42 percent of the Minneapolis population, but comprise 93 percent of all MPD officer-involved deaths”.

MPD officers “consistently use racist, misogynistic, and otherwise disrespectful language,” the agency says:

According to body worn camera footage, discipline records, statements from community members, and interviews with MPD officers, some MPD officers and supervisors use racial slurs. They call Black individuals “niggers” and “monkeys” and call Black women “Black bitches.” One MPD supervisor referred to Somali men as “orangutans.” Similarly, community members reported examples of MPD officers calling Latino individuals “beaners.” MPD officers reported that their colleagues called fellow Black MPD officers “nappy head” and “cattle.”

According to body worn camera footage and interviews with MPD officers and City leaders, some MPD officers and supervisors also use misogynistic language and rely on misogynistic stereotypes. This includes MPD officers calling community members, who are women, “fucking cunt,” “bitch,” and “cussy,” a derogatory term that combines the words “cunt” and “pussy.”

One of the most disturbing revelations from the investigation is MPD’s “covert” use of social media to surveil Black individuals and Black organizations “without a public safety objective.” At the same time, “MPD did not operate its own covert social media accounts to track white supremacist or white nationalist groups.”

MPD officers used MPD covert accounts, unrelated to any actual or alleged criminal activity, to seek and gain access to Black individuals’ social media profiles, as well as social media profiles of Black groups and organizations, such as the NAACP and Urban League. Specifically, MPD officers sent friend requests, commented on posts, sent private messages, and contributed to discussions…In one case, an MPD officer used an MPD covert account to pose as a Black community member to send a message to a local branch of the NAACP criticizing the group…