Police Brutality Investigation

By: Hermelinda Vargas
By: Hermelinda Vargas

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating allegations of police brutality involving a Sneads police officer. The allegations come from an incident that took place Friday night.

Lisa Stewart says she regrets calling Sneads police Officer Joe Chason when she wanted to get her fiancé, Ernesto Carlos Garcia, from drinking in front of her kids. Garcia's nickname is Rosco.

"They were already fighting. Joe Chason was inside of my car when this was going on. My car was rocking and the next thing, I had enough time to come outside and Rosco was already bloody from that point, and I begged Joe to quit, and he kept on and kept on. I thought he was going to kill him," says Lisa Stewart.

Sneads Police Chief Mike Dalton denied our request for on-camera interview, but Chief Dalton did say that Chason was only defending himself when he hit Garcia with his police baton.

Dalton says Garcia hit Chason first with Chason's portable police radio, but Garcia's fiancé and two other witnesses say Garcia was only trying to get away.

"He was covering his head like this to keep him from knocking him in the head because the man was going for his head."

Stewart says other officers stopped her when she tried to take pictures of Garcia's injuries at the scene. Chief Dalton says he didn't see if that happened, but Garcia's family does have a the hospital report detailing his injuries: injuries such as a seven centimeter cut in the head requiring staples, a cut in the forehead and a broken arm bone.

Chason's injuries were mostly bruises according to Chief Dalton. Ernesto Garcia is in jail being charged with resisting arrest with violence, obstruction of justice and battery of a law enforcement officer. Chief Dalton hasn't taken any action against Officer Chason.


8195 Front Beach Road Panama City Beach, FL 32407 Station: 850-234-7777 News: 850-230-5221 Fax: 850-233-6647 FCC Form 398
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