Updated:SANFORD, Fla. - The son of a Sanford police lieutenant, who is accused of beating up a homeless man, walked out of jail late Monday afternoon. On the same day, former Sanford Police Chief Brian Tooley retired, according to city officials.
Justin Collison, 21, turned himself in to the Seminole County jail at 8:01 Monday morning. He was booked into the jail on aggravated battery charges and posted a $4,000 bond. Collison walked out of the jail with his attorney and brother at around 4:30pm.
Collison could face as much as five years in jail, in a case that has had an impact throughout the Sanford Police Department and across the city itself.
Collison walked out of the jail's front doors and around the parking lot, flanked by his attorney, as jail officials confirmed his GPS device was working properly.
It was the first time he's been seen publicly since a bar patron caught him on camera punching homeless man, Sherman Ware, in downtown Sanford on December 4.
"What? What? Peace the F*** out! Peace the F*** out!" Collison shouted in the video.
Despite the punch and many eyewitnesses, Collison was never arrested by the Sanford Police Department, where his father is a lieutenant.
Officers on scene never handcuffed him or even patted him down. They said accounts of the fight were conflicting.
But Collison turned himself in, five days after a warrant was issued for his arrest. His release requires that he wear a GPS monitoring device and that he stay away from Ware and from the scene.
Ware was hospitalized after the attack and remains in rehabilitation.
Tooley's retirement happened after Sanford police met with members of Seminole County's chapter of the NAACP, who are demanding more oversight of the department.
The Sanford City Manager released a statement Monday that read: "In light of the recent developments and under my authority as city manager, I will accelerate the date previously set for the retirement of the Chief of Police from January 31, 2011 to Monday, January 3, 2011. The Chief will no longer have the day-to-day duties of administering the City's Police Department and the retirement and transition agreement entered into during September, 2010, will be fully implemented in accordance with its terms. The Police Chief fully endorses this course of action."
In the emergency meeting Monday, George called for a temporary agreement with Seminole County to bring in Chief Deputy Sheriff Steve Harriett to run the day-to-day operations of the police department, starting immediately.
"He understands the severity of the issue. There were some missteps by police personnel. He takes full ownership of it," Interim City Manager Tom George said.
The NAACP asked for the public meeting, and a number of people were in the audience, including Sherman Ware's sister. She told WFTV her brother doesn't remember the beating.
In the public meeting there was a frank admission from Sanford police.
"Bottom line, we didn't do our job that night," said Cpt. Jerry Hargrett of the Sanford Police Department. Now seven officers, including a sergeant and a lieutenant, will face an internal review for not making an arrest after suspicion of a felony.
Commissioner Velma Williams told WFTV more steps must be taken to restore confidence in the department. Williams said that could include an inter-local agreement between the sheriff's office and Sanford police, as well as an independent review of the city's police department.
"There's a perception that the city commission and the city manager and all of us are a part of this and that's not true," Williams said.
Williams says she still wants an independent investigation.
"I feel the decision we made today will send a message throughout the community, throughout the state, throughout the country, throughout the world, that we are about the business of doing what's right," she said.
Seminole County NAACP President Clayton Turner said his group will await the results of the internal affairs review, but would like to see the Department of Justice involved in the case.
Tooley couldn't be reached for comment, but at the end of an interview with WFTV last Thursday, he joked he could be asked to take retirement sooner than he planned.
Tooley will still serve as a consultant and collect his $116,000 a year salary until the end of April. His benefits and pension are also intact.
Previous Stories: January 3, 2011: Sanford Cop's Son Turns Self In, Chief Tooley Retires Early January 3, 2011: Sanford Cop's Son Arrested After 2007 Shooting December 31, 2010: Chief Says He Was Blindsided By Homeless Beating Video December 31, 2010: Arrest Warrant Issued For Sanford Officer's Son December 29, 2010: Cop's Son Caught On Cam Punching Homeless Man
Cop's Son Accused Of Beating Man Walks Out Of Jail
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