Although prosecutors say a Broward sheriff’s deputy used “offensive,” “wholly inappropriate” words when he was caught on camera grabbing a black man by the throat and calling him “boy”, they concluded that he did not break any laws and will not be charged.
The Broward State Attorney’s Office said the will not prosecute Deputy James Cady for his 2017 encounter with Allen Floyd because “did not commit a crime by physically stopping” the man from leaving the scene with a baby without being identified first.
According to a memo released on Wednesday, Cady’s “behavior warrants censure, discipline, additional training, and whatever other corrective measures”.
Cady’s case came to light when the Broward Public Defender’s Office found bodycam video the encounter early last year.
The officer’s body camera recorded his exchange with Floyd outside a hotel in July 2017. Public defenders watched the video while preparing for an upcoming trial regarding the arrest of a woman that night, and turned it over to prosecutors in January 2019.
On the day of the encounter, police had been called to the hotel because a woman had allegedly broken a flat-screen television in her room and the hotel’s manager wanted her removed from the room.
The video shows Floyd sitting on the sidewalk, holding his baby, while the deputy demanded to see his identification. After Floyd asked Cady why he needed to show his identification the deputy threatened to arrest him and have the child removed by child protective services.
The deputy yelled, “Quit f—— with me, boy!” and, seconds later, “I’m going to f— you up,” the footage shows. At one point in the video, the deputy grabbed Floyd’s throat.
Prosecutors stated in their memo that identifying Floyd was “paramount” before he was allowed to leave the hotel with the baby because the child’s caretaker was intoxicated and was being arrested. Still, Cady “lost his temper, unnecessarily escalated the situation and used offensive language in addressing Floyd that is wholly inappropriate.”
It was the Public Defender’s Office that demanded that prosecutors review the case for a crime. “This video depicts a clear display of police abuse,” Gordon Weekes, the executive chief public defender, wrote in a January 2019 letter to Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony. The deputy’s “use of the term ‘Boy’ is offensive, condescending and demeaning. It carries racial connotations when used while addressing an adult black male.”
On Wednesday, Weekes said he was glad authorities acknowledged Cady’s “conduct was offensive and inappropriate.”
But he was “surprised they did not recognize his manhandling him.” He said the State Attorney’s Office’s “unwillingness to act when a police officer [is] stepping across the lines, it sends a message that type of behavior will be tolerated.”
A spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office said Cady has remained on regular duty in the Dania Beach district since the investigation began last year.