ORLANDO, Florida. – Recently disclosed court records detail multiple investigations into two Daytona Beach Shores Police Department officers who were charged with child abuse after they allegedly handcuffed their child and briefly placed him in a jail cell after he had an accident.
An anonymous child abuse complaint was filed with the Florida Department of Children and Families in October 2022, according to the documents. The Department of Children and Families launched an investigation, as did the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office and its child protection team, as well as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).
Court documents, which were unsealed Friday after a request for public documents, said the Department of Children and Families had determined the allegations were “baseless.” However, the FDLE Special Agent assigned to handle the case found that there was good reason to recommend a charge of aggravated child abuse.
According to the documents, a 74-page report recommending charges was submitted to the state attorney in January 2023. The State Attorney’s Seventh Judicial Court declined to file formal charges, saying “the evidence shows that the child has no physical or mental injury. Therefore, this office requires no further action,” the minutes say.
It was then turned over to the Daytona Beach Shores Police Department for administrative review. A police department investigation found that both employees violated department policy by behaving in ways that “may cause disrespect to an employee, city, or department.” It was not immediately clear what punishment, if any, the officers received from the department.
You don’t follow the rules. Let’s go to jail’
Video from a television camera released earlier this week shows Department of Children and Family Affairs and law enforcement officials questioning parents about the allegations. FOX 35 chose not to name the parents because they are not charged and to protect the child’s identity.
The hour-long video was mostly pixelated and blurred by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office. However, there was sound. FOX 35 has filed a request for public records.
In the video, the father told officials that he put his child in a jail cell because he had an accident and he hoped it would help potty train the child.
“You don’t follow the rules. Let’s go to jail,” the father allegedly said to his child after he was reportedly in an accident, according to the video. “So yes, I took him there and put him in a jail cell.”
“He was crying and saying, ‘I will never do that again,’” Dad told investigators.
According to the video, the father said that this was the second time the child had been placed in a prison cell, and that both cases were due to potty training accidents. The alleged incidents occurred on consecutive days. One day, the mother put the child in a cell for 3-5 minutes, he said in the video, and on the second day, he handcuffed the child, and then, according to the video, in a prison cell on the second day.
“We tried books. We tried different ones – to run without pants. We tried. I mean, what do you call it, we tried,” he said.