In Florida, a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office rookie cop, Akinyemi Borisade, lost his job and was charged with battery on April 28 after he was caught on video punching a handcuffed woman while other officers stood by and watched on April 27 (video below).
The sheriff's office released a surveillance video of Mayra Martinez being punched by Borisade while she was being processed at the Duval County Jail, notes WJXT.
Martinez allegedly acted drunk and belligerent when officers arrested her outside a strip bar where she quit her job on her first day at work. Police charged Martinez with trespassing and resisting police.
Martinez told the cops she had been kicked out of the strip bar, but her personal belongings were still inside, reports Jacksonville.com.
The acting manager of the strip bar told police that Martinez drank four shots of 100-proof liquor at the bar before she quit, but it's not clear what her job was or if the bar knowingly served her the liquor.
Jacksonville.com notes that dashcam video (below) of the arrest shows Borisade, and a second cop on top of Martinez, and Borisade repeatedly hitting her.
According to a police report, Martinez resisted the police when they handcuffed her, and inside a police car.
While Martinez was waiting to be booked at the jail, she walked near Borisade, who slammed her against a wall. Martinez lifted her leg in a kicking motion, and Borisade responded by violently punching her several times. Corrections officers didn't try to stop him, although one did walk over.
"Witnessing a crime does not constitute a crime," Christian Hancock, spokesman for the sheriff’s office, told Jacksonville.com. "They would have been questioned about the incident as any other witness to a crime would be. The reporting of this incident was almost instantaneous."
It may come as a shock to most Americans, but police are not legally obligated to enforce the law while a crime is being committed unless there is a "pre-existing 'special relationship' between cop and citizen -- if the police had actively promised to protect a specific person from harm, for example," notes Slate.
If civilians are simply with a perpetrator, they can sometimes be charged with his or her crime, such as in murder cases.
"[Borisade] could have turned her around and held her in a transporting position that they are trained in back over to the location to wait by the door," Jacksonville Undersheriff Pat Ivey stated. "He could have stood there with her, but there was no need to strike her."
The sheriff's office won't have a legal problem terminating Borisade because he is a probationary officer and cannot file an appeal for his dismissal, although he can petition to have his name cleared.
Borisade was reportedly cited in 2008 for misdemeanor theft from a store at age 19, to which he pleaded no contest.
Apparently, that crime didn't disqualify him from becoming a police officer. The sheriff's office website only disqualifies applicants who have convictions for felonies or misdemeanors in cases of false statements, perjury or domestic violence, reports WJXT.