• Officer involved in The Barn 'takedown' says he was elbowed by suspect, report says

    By: Kevin Williams


    SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - The Sanford Police officer who used a controversial takedown maneuver on a handcuffed man at a rowdy bar last month was intentionally elbowed in the chest, according to a fellow officer who was there that night.

    Channel 9 obtained a partial report from Sanford Police with the written accounts of two officers who were at The Barn on July 10. One of the officers is Adam Johnson, who was suspended for using the takedown maneuver on Morell Byrd while he was in handcuffs. 

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    Video from body cameras and cellphones captured the incident. The incident prompted an internal investigation when cellphone video started to spread on social media.

    Johnson said he and a fellow officer ran into The Barn that night to help other officers detain Byrd, who was reportedly standing on a table and punching an air conditioning unit.

    According to the report, Johnson reported “a large, hostile crowd.”

    Johnson said he had a “firm grip on [Byrd’s] right bicep” when Byrd pulled away and started yelling, using a racial slur for white people, the report said.

    Read: Sanford police officer on leave for 'takedown maneuver' on man in handcuffs at The Barn

    An officer who was with Johnson wrote in the report that Byrd “intentionally elbowed Officer Johnson in his chest area.” The officer did not mention the takedown.

    Officer Johnson’s report said after he was elbowed, Byrd then “began to square up with me, at which time I grabbed him and used his momentum to redirect him to the ground in a controlled manner.”

    RAW BODY CAMERA VIDEO | Warning: Explicit language (Source: Sanford Police Dept.)

    Sanford Police did not give an update on the status of the internal investigation, nor did they say when it could be completed.

    Police have been to the popular but problematic bar several times over the years. In 2016, a performer was shot multiple times in the parking lot of The Barn moments after getting off the stage. In 2015, Sanford police said they had been called to The Barn more than 700 times in the previous 18 months. 

    One of the 2015 incidents was a fight in which a man was seen on surveillance video slamming another person to the concrete ground.

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