The chief of the Palm Bay Police Department released a statement Tuesday defending his officers in the case of a Palm Bay man who, videos show, was tased and punched during his arrest. The violent encounter Sunday morning put 22-year-old Jacob Mitchell in the hospital.
“On December 12th, Mitchell was released from the hospital and turned over to the Brevard County Jail,” Chief Mario Augello said in a statement. “After an extensive administrative review, the Office of Professional Standards found that the actions conducted by the officers involved acted in accordance with department policy.”
A mugshot of Mitchell taken Monday shows swelling, bruising and scrapes on his face. Friends of Mitchell said he was in the hospital and transferred to jail the next day with a sprained shoulder and a broken orbital bone.
Space Coast Rocket reached out to Mitchell, who only said he “can’t release a statement at the moment.”
Home security videos show Mitchell was smoking a cigarette outside of his friend’s apartment at Palm Bay Club Condominiums when two Palm Bay officers approached him. After they questioned Mitchell, the video shows the violent arrest.
One of the cops, now confirmed to be Officer Cole McDonald, filed the arrest affidavit for Mitchell. In it, he stated officers were at the complex responding to a 9-1-1 call Mitchell had allegedly made Friday night. McDonald stated, the 9-1-1 caller reported seeing teenagers pointing guns at each other, and then hung up.
When the officers showed up, McDonald stated, they found no one armed or any commotion. He stated he saw Mitchell outside, allegedly recording them with his phone and laughing. When asked if he had made the call, Mitchell responded he had not, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit further stated, McDonald was able to verify Mitchell’s phone number as the 9-1-1 caller, he also stated he was able to identify Mitchell’s voice on the call recording and that Mitchell answered the phone when he called it.
Videos taken by the home security system show when one of the officers confronted Mitchell about previously denying making the phone call. When asked why changed his story, Mitchell said it was because he “was nervous.” On the videos, Mitchell can be heard saying more than once he is currently on probation and trying to avoid any more legal trouble.
McDonald stated in the affidavit Mitchell admitted to making the call, giving “a sworn audio statement.” The officer then stated Mitchell resisted arrest, at one point trying to grab his police vest, which the officer stated drove him to tase, hold down, punch and eventually chase after Mitchell.
The officer stated he tased Mitchell again when he ran away, causing Mitchell to fall on the ground before he was finally placed in handcuffs. The video shows complex residents came out of their apartment to intervene in the violent incident.
Brevard County Clerk of Courts records show Mitchell received felony charges for battery against an officer and resisting with violence, as well as misdemeanor charges for providing officers false information and misusing a 9-1-1 call.
Mitchell bonded out of jail and has pleaded not guilty. Mitchell is not seen attacking the officers or being aggressive toward them in any of the 13 fragmented home security video clips the Space Coast Rocket obtained.
Space Coast Rocket is still waiting for Palm Bay Police to release the bodycam footage.