|Pablo Valenzuela was beaten before his arrest.|
Court documents call into question the timing of Palm Beach State Attorney Michael McAuliffe's decision to drop felony charges against two former cops who kicked and beat a handcuffed suspect in the head.
The memo an assistant state attorney wrote recommending that the charges be dropped is dated September 22, one day after she signed an official document declining to prosecute the case. The timing suggests the memo was written to justify a decision that had already been made -- and it had been, says Paul Zacks, chief assistant state attorney.
Zacks says Danielle Croke, the lead prosecutor on the case, dictated the memo on September 21 and signed it the next day. But discussions about revising the charges in the case had been going on for weeks at that point, ever since prosecutors viewed a newly enhanced video of the beating. "It's not like we decided on September 21," Zacks says.
In June 2009, the Palm Beach State Attorney's office filed felony
charges against former West Palm Beach police officers Louis Schwartz and Kurt Graham, who were
caught on a 2008 surveillance video kicking and beating a robbery suspect in the head
while the man lay
handcuffed, face-down on the ground. One kick was so violent, it lifted the suspect, Pablo Valenzuela, in the air. Afterward, Graham allegedly lied to his supervisor,
saying Valenzuela had a More »