In late March, Officer Brandon Vermillion and other Sarasota Police Department officers were caught on video brutally beating and tasing Chad Washington during a medical emergency. He was tased 13 times in front of children. Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino defended Vermillion, commending him for acting "with restraint" for not shooting Washington.
Three weeks later, Vermillion struck again, opening fire into an SUV with three young Black teenagers inside. Two of the teens suffered serious gunshot wounds, but survived after driving themselves to the hospital. Vermillion claims that he feared for his life when he approached the SUV and Trebbles drove off. However, photos taken directly afterwards show Vermillion and the other officer standing in the parking lot unharmed. Officers have offered no reason for approaching the vehicle, except that it looked "suspicious" because it was nighttime.
At the latest hearing of the Sarasota police complaint committee, community members demanded that the charges against Chad Washington and Jeremy Trebbles be dropped; that Officer Brandon Vermillion be fired and prosecuted; and real community oversight of Sarasota Police Department, as opposed to the powerless complaint committee and advisory panel currently in place. The speak out was organized by the ANSWER Coalition, Black Lives Matter Manasota and the Rodney Mitchell Foundation. Below are photos and video from the event.
Local media coverage of the action