The actions of a Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy with a history of making false arrests drew a complaint from the Broward Public Defender’s Office after bodycam video from a July 2017 incident emerged last month.
Deputy James Cady confronts Allen Floyd, an African-American father calmly holding his infant, angrily drops f-bombs and calls Floyd “boy” before appearing to grab Floyd by the throat.
Floyd wasn’t under investigation for any crime. Nor was he being belligerent towards Cady in the video from July 25, 2017.
Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein made the latter point in a Jan. 30 letter to newly appointed Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony.
“Deputy Cady’s verbal assault coupled with him choking an otherwise cooperative bystander can only be characterized as unlawful touching,” Finkelstein wrote. “In addition, Deputy Cady’s use of the term “boy” is offensive, condescending and demeaning. It carries racial connotations when used while addressing an adult black male.”
In the official report on the incident, Cady’s presence isn’t even noted, although the video shows he played a key role.
Tony’s response letter said, “Thank you for bringing this matter that occurred in July 2017 to my attention. A cursory search of our system shows that no complaint was made prior to receiving your letter.
“Our Division of Internal Affairs will provide you with a response upon conducting a thorough examination.”
The public defender’s office discovered the video in preparing to defend Johnnymae Dardy. The probable cause affidavit, filled out by BSO Deputy Debbra Bridgman, said Dardy had been watching Floyd’s baby when police encountered her at the Red Carpet Inn in Dania Beach. The Sun Sentinel said BSO had been called to the motel about Dardy, who had a room there.
The bodycam video picks up with Cady asking Floyd, who is holding his child and sitting on a curb, if he has a separate room at the motel. Then, Cady demands, three times, to see Floyd’s identification. Floyd shows Cady pictures on his phone, apparently to show he’s the child’s father, a gesture Cady disdains.
Finally, after Floyd shakes his head at Cady, Cady says, “OK, fine, I’m going to take her to jail because she’s got a warrant and I’m going to call child services on this kid!” When Floyd starts to say something, Cady says, “Quit f----- with me, boy! You hear me? Get your ID! Now!”
Bridgman’s voice chimes in, “ID!”
Dardy, who had been in a car, appears and Cady says, “Get your ass back in the car! I’m tired of you f----- playing games!”
As Cady angrily repeats his demand for Floyd’s identification, Floyd asks, “Why are you being so hostile?”
Cady answers, “Because you’re giving me s--- and I’m tired of it!”
Eventually Cady says, “I want to know who this baby is going with!” and Floyd replies, “He’s going with me, Allen Floyd.”
Floyd rises from the curb, still holding his child in his left arm. Cady steps toward him. Floyd turns to walk away and says, “Stop calling me ‘boy!’ ”
Cady grabs Floyd by the right arm while Bridgman grabs Floyd’s child from his left arm. Then, the video shows Cady’s left hand holding small papers that, along with Floyd’s torso, partially block the bodycam while his right hand is up in Floyd’s throat area.
When a fuller view is available again, Floyd’s saying, “I ain’t doin’ nothin’!” with his arms spread wide. Bridgman is holding the baby.
The probable cause affidavit, available on the Broward County Courts website under Case No. 17008749CF10A, doesn’t mention that Cady was among the deputies there. It doesn’t mention Floyd. It doesn’t mention why the deputies came to the Red Carpet Inn. Nor, when describing Dardy trying to grab the baby from Bridgman’s arms, does it mention how Bridgman came to be holding the child.
It does say, “While attempting to identify a child’s parent that was in Johnnymae Dardy’s custody when making contact with her, Johnnymae Dardy exited the vehicle and attempted to grab the baby from Deputy Bridgman’s arms, risking the safety of the baby.”
Gordon Weekes, executive chief assistant public defender, said that if a person answers a law enforcement officer with his name, as Floyd did several times, he’s identified himself. From that point, officers have many ways to verify identity.
Cady’s personnel file includes previous Internal Affairs investigations for conduct unbecoming an employee (result: unfounded) and use of force (result: exonerated) from a June 2003 investigation; and taking suitable action (result: not sustained) and conduct unbecoming an employee (result: not sustained) from a June 2010 investigation. Despite the result of each investigation, the final recommendation was for a one-day suspension.
The second investigation coincides with the first of two federal lawsuits with Cady as defendant, lawsuits that cost Broward County almost $680,000.
A federal lawsuit for wrongful arrest filed against Cady by Weston resident William Pineiro resulted in Pineiro being awarded $250,000 in total damages, $75,635 in attorney’s fees and $4,183.27 in court costs and interest. Pineiro had been at a party thrown by a Dania Beach couple whose federal lawsuit for false arrest against deputies Cady, Justin Lambert, Randy Villata and Broward Sheriff Scott Israel (as their supervisor) was settled for $350,000.
The complaint described Cady saying, “Shut the f--- up!” when Pineiro said, “Excuse me, officer. That is my truck” as Cady ticketed it. Later, after the couple was arrested and the husband Tasered, Pineiro asked Cady why they were being arrested. The complaint says Cady answered with a curse, (“What the f---, you want to be arrested, too?”), a running tackle and the arrest of Pineiro for obstruction of justice.