Fort Myers Police Department has released a press statement admitting to fingerprinting and detaining two Black minors, since the publication of the viral video.
America’s Police Problem Media was alerted of the situation the day it happened, November 20, and republished the video that was captured by Kat Duesterhaus.
Since the video has went viral, Fort Myers Police released a press statement to local media. Typically, press statements are released on their website, but this one was not released to the public by them.
Two officers were patrolling the area on bicycles and detained the gentleman and two teenagers around 11am, according to the press release.
Officers believed that the gentleman that was with the teeagers was intoxicated, but it is quite clear in the video that he is distressed and not intoxicated.
According to the press release:
“While these are unique times and we understand some students are enrolled in online learning and some face-to-face school, all are typically engaged in classroom work at 1111 in the morning.”
Neither of the teenagers were willing to give the officers their personal information, according to the press release, and that is why Lee County Sheriff’s brought a mobile fingerprint scanner.
According to the press release:
“The officers made contact with the teenagers based on the Fort Myer’s (sic) Youth Protection
Order; B. Truants: Upon reason to believe that a child is absent from school without
authorization, the child may be taken into custody and delivered without unreasonable delay to the school system. (This does not apply to (16) and (17) year old youth.) (CALEA 44.2.2a)”
The order that they quoted in the press statement says to deliver the minors to the school system, but they admitted to releasing them back to the parents at home, who gave them the initial permission to leave the house to get food.
The order that officers used also states:
“When interviewing juveniles, the arresting officer/investigator shall
ensure the atmosphere is non-intimidating and explain agency and Juvenile Justice System
procedures to the juvenile being interviewed. If an arrested juvenile requests a parent/guardian to be present, then a parent/guardian must be contacted and be present during the interview/interrogation. Once requested, officers and detectives shall make a reasonable effort to contact a parent/guardian in the most expedient manner possible.”
The officers waited till the supervisor was on scene to move the minors into what some may call a non-intimidating atmosphere. It is still unknown if the minors requested a parent or guardian present and if so, they were denied it as the older brother was told numerous times to step away.
America’s Police Problem reached out to Fort Myers Police requesting body camera footage, dash camera footage, and police reports on November 20 via their request portal and have not received an update. America’s Police Problem Media also reached out to Chief Derrick Diggs, Sheriff Carmine, the city mayor, and city council via email, on November 21, calling for a full investigation and transparency. America’s Police Problem Media has not been contacted back either in regards to the email.
This is a developing story and will update once there is new information.
Editor Note: Fort Myers Police Department cited their website for the Truant Order, but America’s Police Problem Media was unable to locate it via their website and obtained it third-party.
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