Updated:SANFORD, Fla.,None — Police say a grainy video shows a Sanford police officer threatening a car full of people with a gun, but then he charged the driver with attempted murder. Now, police admit the officer blew the case out of proportion.
But, the officer is not being fired; he's being re-trained.
So, how do police explain their actions? They say, from the perspective of the officer on the ground, it very well may have felt like the driver was attempting to run him down, but now four officers will be re-trained since it's clear the charges don't fit what really happened.
In the grainy video, Officer Ned Golden Jr. approached a car of people pumping gas with his gun drawn. He then grabbed the car door as they drove off and then charged the driver with attempted murder on an officer.
"If you look at the video, it doesn't appear that the person was trying to kill the police officer," explained Sgt. Dave Morgenstern, Sanford Police Department.
The department now says the very serious charge wasn't proven. The incident, late on December 28 at a Mobil station on 17/92, started with a verbal dispute between the driver and store clerk over ID'ing for beer.
Golden poked his head in the store. Then, without notifying his command center, he immediately went toward the man's car, gun-pointed, and grabbed on as the car drove off.
Monday, the department called his actions "unsafe and inappropriate." Officer Golden was one of the officers disciplined last year for sending inappropriate messages from his department computer.
"We always have to 'Monday morning quarterback' each other, but it's very hard to be the quarterback actually out there doing the play," Morgenstern said.
Despite a lost witness statement and big discrepancies between the video, the clerk's statement, and Golden's account, three separate officers wrote and reviewed the report and agreed with the serious charge.
Only on Friday did an internal review confirm the car's driver shouldn't be charged at all. Officer Golden and the three others who wrote and reviewed the report will all be given remedial training.
The victim hasn't been identified because he hasn't been charged, so there's no word on any potential lawsuit.