Controversy over FMPD arrest video
Video from a recent traffic stop in Fort Myers has caused some controversy on social media.
The Fort Myers Police Department referred to it as a traffic stop for a minor violation and told WINK News that they were trying to pull over a car near Verona Street. The officer is seen activating his lights just as the car pulls into a driveway.
Four people got out but one ran into the home. Keenan Carter and his cousin were two of the people in that car. They claim that they had already parked and exited the vehicle once the lights were turned on.
“You can see on video by the time I get to my sister’s screen door, I hear a ‘hey, get back in the car,’ and a ‘get over here,’ whatever the situation may be. I turned and looked because I didn’t know what was going on,” Carter said.
Carter said his cousin walked into the home. Police bodycam video shows the officer follow the person inside, and according to the video and to Carter’s accounts, there were children as young as seven years old inside the home when the officer entered with his Taser drawn.
“Anything could’ve happened to them. You could’ve tased my little nephew,” Carter said.
A statement from the FMPD said that the officer followed the man into the home and escorted him back out, both of which were lawful because they did not comply with the lawful stop. However, there was no mention of the Taser in the statement.
Carter said he wasn’t really afraid until they put the handcuffs on him. “I didn’t get scared until I got put in handcuffs for listening,” Carter said. “A lot of things going on right now, especially with the George Floyd-Breonna Taylor situation. I don’t want to be a hashtag. I have a daughter.”
Neighbors captured video of the incident via their doorbell camera. They also said they witnessed both men in handcuffs as well as police searching the car. Carter said the firearm found in his car was legally registered but police confiscated the weapon until they can confirm the claim.
The men were released after an hour; the family is still in shock from what happened. “It’s really just starting to really take its toll on me. My kids are just now going to sleep. We’ve been up all night,” said Carter’s sister and the owner of the home.
Carter said he was cited for not wearing a seatbelt, which is what led to the traffic stop. FMPD said the other man was given a court date. They maintain the situation escalated because of noncompliance.
Carter and his sister said they believe he was racially profiled and they’re hiring an attorney.