Moral Low Ground


Video: Dashcam Catches Melbourne, FL. Cop Derek Middendorf Brutally Beating 66-Year-Old Dementia Sufferer Albert Flowers

Video from a police dashcam showing a white Florida police officer brutally beating an elderly black dementia patient has been recovered despite the officer’s best efforts to disable the recording.

Florida Today reports that Melbourne, Florida officer Derek Middendorf deliberately tried to disable his police cruiser’s dashboard video camera just before a violent encounter with 66-year-old dementia sufferer Albert Flowers. But technicians were able to retrieve the footage, which shows Flowers calmly approaching Middendorf before the officer suddenly kicks the elderly man in the torso, knocking him to the ground. Middendorf then proceeds to pummel Flowers while he’s down, raining blow after vicious blow to the helpless victim’s face. Flowers was beaten so severely that he spent a whole month in the hospital.

Middendorf claims that he attacked Flowers out of self-defense after the man refused orders to stop approaching. The officer says he believed Flowers was armed with a knife.

“I had to protect myself in fear he was going to attack me,” Middendorf wrote in his report. “Not knowing if he was still armed or not… I struck the defendant in the face to distract him.”

But that’s not the way attorney Paul Bross sees it. “He should be fired,” he told Florida Today, speaking of Middendorf. “Anyone who’s been pulled over by this officer should be terrified. It’s clear [he] tried to destroy all the video in this case. He thought he had turned off the camera, and that’s why he acted the way he did.”

Middendorf was, at first, given a reprimand for tampering with his dashcam. But the city of Melbourne has since decided not to place the officer under administrative review. “Information regarding the arrest of Albert Flowers was sufficient to indicate that an internal investigation was not warranted,” Melbourne Police Chief Steve Mimbs said in a press release. “Officer Middendorf is a valued officer whose record since joining the department in 2005 reflects the fact that he has done a very good job for the city,” he added.

As for Flowers, the Brevard County State Attorney’s Office has dropped all charges against him.

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