Man claims Apopka police officers used excessive force that was racially motivated

A man who said he was beaten by Apopka police officers is now taking on the city and wants to hold them accountable.   

Jason Friend claims that a lot of what happened was racially motivated. 

The first eight minutes of body camera video show Apopka police trying to get Friend’s attention while he sits in his car. Then officers pull Friend out of his car and bring him to the ground, eventually tasing him.

"Stop fighting! Stop fighting!" the officers are heard shouting. 

Friend’s attorney released the body camera video that FOX 35 first received last week when Friend announced he is suing the City of Apopka and Orange County. 

Now he and his team are publicly calling out Apopka Police, stating that race played a role in how officers responded, particularly because one of the officers involved is a Proud Boy member accused of participating in the Capitol riot. 

"The bigger question chief is, 'Why do you have a Proud Boy as a member of the police department?" said attorney Mark NeJame. "To allow him to resign without firing him after you see this atrocity, and you defend it? No!"

"I just never thought that this would have happened to me after serving in the uniform and not breaking the law," said Friend.

They also claim officers came prepared for violence.

"Pull him out," one officer can be heard saying in the body camera video.  "We’re going to rip him out." 

"I got the Taser," said another officer. 

"Wait, wait, wait. Let me get my gloves."

The arrest report tells a different story. One of the officers said Friend hit them multiple times during the incident, which forced them to tase him. 

"I didn’t hit, punch, kick any of them. I didn’t know none of this until my neighbor gave me this video. I was unaware of the whole event until I’m laying on the ground bleeding, face swelling up," said Friend.

One neighbor, who initially called 911 and witnessed the incident, told FOX 35 off-camera that he felt bad about how this played out and "wish I had never even dealt with the cops." 

When FOX 35 has reached out to the City of Apopka, they told us they cannot comment on pending litigation.

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