Police Accused of Beating Man in Sweetwater, FL

by TChris

Investigating the theft of a jet ski from his stepson's home, Sweetwater, Florida police officer Catalino Rodriguez questioned the owners of Extreme Jet Ski (one of whom was Peter Daniel). They denied knowledge of the theft. When Daniel drove through Sweetwater ten days later, a police car driven by Officer Allen St. Germain began to follow him. Daniel got scared and managed to lose St. Germain by turning off his headlights. That turned out to be a bad decision, as he was arrested later that night for "fleeing and eluding."

As Daniel was being booked into the jail, St. Germain slapped him, knocking him to the floor. The dispatcher, Robert Viera, decided it was a good time to take a lengthy "smoke break." St. Germain and Sgt. George Alvarez later pulled Daniel out of his cell to question him about the stolen jet ski. Daniel denied any knowledge of the theft, but that wasn't what the officers wanted to hear, so they used interrogation methods calculated to produce the desired answer.

Investigators alleged Alvarez then punched Daniel in the left cheek. Daniel fell to the floor. Daniel later testified that Alvarez and St. Germain kicked him and hit him repeatedly while he was on the floor. At one point, he said, Alvarez picked him up off the floor by his shirt and St. Germain hit him in the stomach area. He was not sure how many times he was kicked or punched nor how long the beating lasted.

As people who are brutally interrogated often do, Daniel told a story to put an end to the beating. He said that his friend, Danny Izquierdo, may have stolen the jet ski. The police arrested Izquierdo, but released him after a few hours of incarceration and questioning produced no evidence of his involvement. But Daniel's troubles didn't end there.

Throughout the night, Daniel continued to complain about abdominal pain to his jailers and questioners. His pleas were ignored until Officer Eladio Parra noticed Daniel's "near death" pallor. He urged St. Germain to call Fire Rescue. ... An examination showed Daniel had a laceration to both his liver and his spleen, and both were bleeding.

St. Germain's explanation for the injuries?

Daniel hurt himself when he threw himself to the police station floor a number of times during questioning and later by throwing himself against a wall of his cell.

Right. He ruptured his own liver and spleen. Nice try.

St. Germain and Alvarez have each been charged with felony battery and official misconduct.

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