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Beckham’s Attorney calls for officer dismissals

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By Kellie Parkin

A Tasing incident that took place during a routine parking violation on Dock Street a year ago may result in a lawsuit.

Notice of intent to sue the City was sent to Cedar Key Commissioners last week, citing “false arrest, false imprisonment, excessive use of force, battery, and violation of Mr. Beckham’s constitutional rights.”

Danny Beckham was arrested on April 28, 2008 for resisting arrest without violence-obstruction and resisting arrest with violence. Beckham was Tased three times during the arrest, according to the police report. A court document states that no commands were issued and Beckham was not told he was under arrest before he was grabbed and thrown to the street prior to being Tased in the back and neck.

An order dismissing Beckham’s charges was granted Feb. 26, stating “no probable cause existed to arrest the defendant,” according to court records.

What happened “was unlawful, improper, and just plain wrong,” said Robert Rush, the attorney representing Beckham.

Rush is calling for the termination of Cedar Key Police officers Mike Cosseboom and John McMullen. “They should not be working there,” he said.

There has been no corrective action taken, nor has either officer received a reprimand, according to Cedar Key Police Chief Virgil Sandlin.

Sandlin said he reviewed the case when he became chief in June 2008 and found that Beckham had not filed an official complaint against the officers. “Under city ordinance, he needs to come in and file an official complaint,” he said. Until that happens, Sandlin said, it would be difficult to conduct a proper internal investigation.

Sandlin said Tuesday he had not yet received the notice of intent to sue. “We were expecting this, but I was unaware it had been sent,” he said.

Notice of intent to sue is a legal instrument intended to create dialogue before a lawsuit is actually filed, Rush said.