Cousin of man kicked by OPD officer while handcuffed describes arrest



ORLANDO, Fla. - One day after 9 Investigates uncovered video of an Orlando police officer striking and kicking a handcuffed man, reporter Kathi Belich heard from that man's cousin, who said he was also wrongly arrested that night.

Refus Holloway's cousin said police assumed the two were involved in a fight, but in fact they actually helped break a brawl up before officers arrived.

Officer William Escobar, who is accused of kicking the handcuffed suspect while he was down, has had eight complaints filed against him, but he was cleared in all of them, Belich learned.

Officials said patrol officers face frequent complaints because of the number of people they encounter.

Escobar was accused of racial profiling but the Orlando Police Department said it never found evidence of it.

On Friday, Holloway's cousin, Octavius Sheals, who was also arrested that night, said he and Holloway helped break up a drunken brawl at an apartment complex but the next thing they knew, they were the ones being arrested.

"The minute he grabbed my arm I put my hands up and said, 'I have a gun in my pocket. It's not mine,'" said Sheals.

Sheals said he took the gun away from one of the drunken brawlers to prevent someone from getting shot.

"The gun was not loaded. The clip was out," said Sheals. "I have never owned a gun. I've never had a gun. I'm not a criminal. I'm a hard-working guy."

Sheals said he wasn't beaten the way his cousin was, but he heard it all going down.

Sheals has a court hearing next week, and he's hoping he'll get a chance to tell the judge his story. He's hoping like his cousin, his charges will be dropped, too.