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Cops or Criminals With a Badge Again!
84 Year Old Veteran
Thugs Called Police
One minute, 84-year-old Daniel Daley Jr. was arguing with an Orlando police officer about his car being towed.
The next, he was on the ground in handcuffs with a broken neck.
That much is not in dispute. But versions of the story diverge from there.
Ultimately, the Orange-Osceola State Attorney's Office will decide whether Daley should be charged with assault and battery on a law-enforcement officer and disorderly conduct -- as police recommend. Advocates for Daley think the officer is the one who may have violated the law.
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The incident has divided the neighborhood along North Orange Avenue near Lake Ivanhoe, with its mix of restaurants, bars, antique stores and other shops.
Police and one witness say Daley was belligerent and threatened Officer Travis Lamont, 26. Lawyers representing Daley say Lamont overreacted, endangering the life of a sweet old widower and veteran of World War II and Vietnam.
In a report released Monday, Lamont said Daley had been drinking, kept slapping the officer on the shoulder and was warned to cut it out. But Daley persisted, grabbed the officer's neck and "cocked his right hand back as if to throw a punch," Lamont wrote.
"I'm not going anywhere till I knock out this cop," Lamont quoted Daley as saying in the report.
"I immediately feared a physical attack was imminent so I grabbed Daley Jr.'s left wrist with my left hand while placing my right hand on his left elbow," Lamont wrote. "I then pivoted on the ball of my left foot while dropping my right knee toward the ground. I then directed Daley Jr. to the ground with an arm bar technique."
Eyewitness Sean Hill, a patron of The Caboose bar, where Daley had been drinking before the confrontation, described the takedown as more of a hip check and a flip that drove Daley into the pavement headfirst. Furthermore, Lamont never told Daley to stop touching him, nor was the older man was aggressive or a threat, Hill said.
Hill said Daley tapped the officer's shoulders a few times but suddenly stumbled forward and reached for the officer's shoulders to catch his balance.
"The police officer never asked him to stop with the hands," said Hill, who often plays the Golden Tee video-golf game with Daley at the bar.
"I heard Dan's head hit the ground first, then his body," he added.
Orlando attorney Mark NeJame is representing Daley and spent the day interviewing witnesses. So far, he said, it appears to him that Lamont overreacted.
"If a law officer violated the law, then he should be held to the same standard as everyone else," NeJame said.
The lawyer said Daley has never had legal trouble. But Lamont has been investigated three times by the police internal-affairs division.
Lamont, who joined the department in December 2008, damaged his patrol car twice and was reprimanded, records show. In April, he wrongly arrested a man on a simple battery charge and had to ask a judge to release the man from jail. He received a written reprimand.
That doesn't mean he was wrong in Daley's case, authorities said.
"Things can happen when you're trying to take custody of somebody," said Sgt. Barbara Jones, a police spokeswoman. "Officers can get hurt. He has a right to defend himself." (Here we go again, trying to justify the cops' actions. The guy is 84 years old for God's sake, even if he was unruly is this treatment justified? If Travis Lamont, (26) wants to be a bad ass let's send him somewhere where he can be one).