Orlando, FL — A police sergeant and an officer were finally fired 14 months after surveillance video caught the officer violently kneeing a handcuffed man. After rupturing the man’s spleen, the officers ignored his pleas for medical attention for nearly two hours while laughing at him off-camera and later lying to investigators regarding the incident.
On August 12, 2014, Robert Liese was arrested for a $60 bar tab that he was unable to pay. While loading Liese into his patrol car, Orlando police officer Peter Delio allegedly kicked the handcuffed man in the stomach. Upset and injured after Delio left him handcuffed inside a jail cell, Liese headbutted the glass window on his cell door.
According to surveillance video, Officer Delio immediately entered Liese’s cell and kneed the handcuffed man in the abdomen so hard that it ruptured his spleen. Easily picking up Liese like a ragdoll, Delio ordered him to stop resisting even though Liese was clearly immobilized from the pain and not attempting to resist. After dragging Liese out of the cell, Delio moved him to another holding area and placed leg restraints on him.
For nearly two hours, Liese remained on the floor of his cell in restraints writhing in pain and begging for medical attention 35 times. Instead of calling paramedics, several cops could be heard in the video mocking and laughing at Liese off-camera. When Sgt. William Faulkner eventually went into the cell to check on Liese, the police sergeant failed to report that Liese had requested medical care and later lied to internal affairs officers investigating the incident.
After an hour and 50 minutes of suffering from internal injuries, Liese was rescued when paramedics finally arrived and began treating him. Requiring emergency surgery, Liese was rushed to a hospital where surgeons removed his ruptured spleen.
Upon reviewing the footage of the incident, Police Chief John Mina asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to conduct an investigation into his men. Initially, Delio was suspended for a week without pay in December. But in March, Delio was arrested and charged with felony battery.
On Wednesday, the Orlando Police Department terminated Sgt. Faulkner and Officer Delio 14 months after nearly killing a restrained man. The department accused both cops of failing to treat the detainee “humanely and with regard to their legal rights.” Faulkner was also accused of writing false reports and lying to internal affairs investigators.
“Sgt. Faulkner blatantly ignored Liese’s repeated pleas for medical assistance,” his termination letter stated. “Liese was obviously in a great amount of pain and distress. This put Liese at medical risk.”
In his report, Faulkner falsely stated that he had asked Liese if he needed medical attention, but Liese refused. According to the video, Faulkner did not even bother asking Liese if he required medical assistance yet Liese begged him several times.
“I need medical attention, please,” Liese repeated.
According to their termination letters, Faulkner and Delio both lied to the internal affairs officers investigating the incident. Delio told investigators that he heard screaming from the cell but did not know it was coming from Liese, even though he was the only prisoner in that cell. Faulkner attempted to cover up his role in the abuse by falsely informing investigators that Liese never requested medical attention, even though the camera recorded him asking 35 times.
“While on the ground, Liese can be heard and seen through the audio/video writhing in pain crying out for medical attention 35 times over the next 1 hour and 50 minutes,” wrote Deputy Chief Robert Anzueto in Delio’s termination letter. “The conduct outlined in the investigation cannot be tolerated by an employee of the Orlando Police Department and undermines the employee’s credibility as a law enforcement officer.”
After almost dying at the hands of these sadistic cops, Liese filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Orlando Police Department. The case is still pending.