CAPE CORAL, Fla.- The Cape Coral Police Department is releasing the findings from a standard administrative review of a use of force by their officers along with dashboard-camera footage of the incident.
On April 29th at 1:00 a.m., Cape Coral Police Officer William Rosario conducted a traffic stop on a Cadillac in the 1000 Block of Cape Coral Parkway East. Once the vehicle was stopped, Officer Rosario made contact with the driver, Blake Williams, and the passenger Richie Oliver.
Officer Rosario informed Williams that he was pulled over for improper/unsafe equipment (F.S.S. 316.610) and requested his driver’s license and registration. At that time, a Lee County Sheriff’s Deputy saw the traffic stop and stopped to see if the officer was ok (this is customary amongst police officers, especially at night). The deputy approached on the passenger side of the Cadillac.
The deputy told Officer Rosario that he saw a prescription pill bottle in the open center console as Williams was looking for his registration. Williams was asked by Officer Rosario to hand him the pill bottle, which he did. The prescription bottle did not belong to Williams. At that point, Officer Rosario asked both occupants to step out of the car.
Oliver, the passenger, immediately complied and stepped out of the Cadillac. Williams, however, turned his back to Officer Rosario and quickly began reaching near the center console and between the seats. Both the deputy and Officer Rosario noticed this and began giving loud commands to Williams to stop and show his hands.
As Williams failed to comply with the officer’s repeated orders, and fearing that Williams was reaching for a weapon, Officer Rosario opened the driver’s door to the Cadillac while continuing to give repeated verbal commands to exit the vehicle by officers on the scene. Williams resisted the officers’ efforts to pull him out by holding on and refusing to exit the car. After a few seconds of struggling, Officer Rosario was able to overcome Williams’ resistance and remove him from the car. Officer Rosario and Sergeant Eric Stevens performed a controlled takedown, placing Williams onto the ground on his stomach and then handcuffed him.
No weapons were found, but several loose prescription pills were found inside of the center console. When asked why he continued to reach into the center console, refusing to comply with the officers’ instruction to stop and show his hands Williams admitted he was attempting to quickly conceal the loose prescription pills in his pocket because he believed he would be in trouble.
Officers later determined the pills were lawfully prescribed to Williams; therefore he had no reason to conceal them from officers, nor was Williams charged with possession of a controlled substance without a prescription because the pills belonged to him. Although Officer Rosario could have arrested Williams for Resisting an Officer without Violence (F.S.S. 843.02) for refusing to comply with his commands, he chose not to arrest Williams for the misdemeanor because he truly believed that Williams made a mistake.
As is standard, an administrative review of the incident took place. After reviewing the dashboard camera footage, the affidavits of the officers involved as well as the statement provided by Williams himself, it was determined that the use of the controlled takedown was reasonable given the level of resistance offered by Williams. Williams himself told officers on the scene that he acted “stupidly” by not obeying the officers commands.