Recorded on a police body camera grabbing an unarmed man by the throat and shoving him to the ground, an Orlando police officer was recently charged by a grand jury with three counts of battery. Although the officer noted in his arrest report that the man tensed his muscles while preparing to attack him, the video revealed the man never posed a viable threat to any of the officers.
On September 8, 2019, Orlando police officers responded to a suspected burglary at a construction site near Lake Ivanhoe in Florida. According to the arrest report, Bennett Robinson told the officers that he was a contractor inspecting the construction site on his walk home around 4 a.m.
In the body cam video, Corporal Frank Sikos ordered an officer to run Robinson’s ID for any criminal activity. Robinson asked the officer why she wanted his ID, and she responded, “Just to run your criminal record.”
Robinson agreed with her request and handed over his identification without incident. Suddenly, Cpl. Sikos began to verbally escalate the situation by repeatedly asking Robinson what time it was.
After Robinson admitted that it was after 3 in the morning, Sikos shouted, “Shut up and listen to me!”
“Yeah, I’m listening, sir,” Robinson acquiesced.
“You don’t come over here at 3 o’clock in the morning—” Sikos began to lecture him.
“Sir,” Robinson interrupted while merely taking a step forward, “Sir.”
“Stand back!” Sikos ordered while gripping Robinson’s throat before throwing him to the ground. “Don’t you walk up to me like that!”
“Excuse me?!” Robinson responded in shock.
After threatening to put Robinson in jail, Sikos pointed his index finger directly in Robinson’s face and yelled, “Don’t you ever fucking walk up to me like that again!”
As Robinson attempted to rise up off the street, Sikos grabbed him by the throat again and shoved him back down before placing Robinson under arrest. For several seconds, Sikos continued to choke Robinson as he remained on the ground, not resisting.
After Robinson was placed in handcuffs, he told Sikos, “Sir, you grabbed my jugular and shoved me to the ground.”
On the video, Sikos continued arguing with Robinson while taunting the restrained man by poking his face with a flashlight.
In his arrest report, Sikos claimed that he feared for his life because he saw the muscles of Robinson’s face and upper body tighten as Robinson approached him. But the video clearly showed Robinson made no violent movements toward Sikos or any other officers at the scene.
Sikos also failed to mention in his arrest report that he choked Robinson and repeatedly grabbed him by the throat. Robinson was charged with resisting arrest without violence, but the charge was later dropped.
A grand jury recently indicted Sikos on three counts of misdemeanor battery after reviewing the police body cam video. According to Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón, Sikos has been relieved of duty with pay.
On Friday, the Orlando Police Department released the following statement: “The Orlando Police Department holds its officers to the highest standards. As soon as we were made aware of alleged misdemeanor criminal actions by Officer Frank Sikos, the Orlando Police Department immediately launched an internal investigation. This investigation is active and ongoing.
“Officer Sikos has been relieved (with Pay) of his law enforcement authority and duties, including his credentials and firearm(s) pending the outcome of the internal affairs investigation.”
Sikos first joined the department in February 2000. He was scheduled to retire in April.