Sarasota, FL -- One of Sarasota's finest has been suspended after video footage emerged showing him taunting a homeless man like an animal at the zoo.
Officer Andrew Halpin is seen on CCTV from inside the Sarasota County Jail throwing peanuts at Randy Miller, a homeless man arrested for trespassing. Halpin is seen taunting Miller, who's obviously in a diminished mental state, like a child would taunt an animal at the zoo.
As the video begins, Halpin is seen pointing and laughing, he also appears to tell Miller to take a seat. Halpin then walks over to Miller and begins tossing peanuts at the man's mouth.
Instead of telling their fellow officer to stop this dehumanizing humiliation, one officer can be seen encouraging Halpin by giving him more peanuts.
Halpin then walks away and Miller, who is clearly hungry and in a mentally diminished state, lays on the ground in an attempt to eat the peanuts that were thrown at him.
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Of course, the inside of a jail is not a daycare center. However, treating another human being like an animal is indicative of a much larger problem. This spectacle is depressing and inhumane and illustrates how far detached these officers are from their humanity. An incapacitated and vulnerable man was used as an object of humor for the pleasure of these officers.
When Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino, was made aware of the video, she said Haldin had been suspended and that an investigation had been launched into the other officers who appear in the video.
“Based on the actions in the video, I immediately initiated an internal investigation on Officer Halpin,” DiPino said.
“I'm disappointed in what I observed in the video, and placed the officer on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation.”
This begs the question as to how "disappointed" DiPino would have been had this video never been made public.