An ex-cop with a history of discipline for making inappropriate comments and using excessive force against Black residents has been criminally charged with sexual battery for an assault on a Black man during a traffic stop, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
In August 2014, Jonathan Mills, a former “officer of the year” in the Orlando Police Department, decided to search a Black man who was a passenger in a car that had been stopped by police because they believed it belonged to a suspect. Although the car turned out not to be the one they were after, Mills roughly searched the man’s genitals and butt for drugs, the paper reported. In a deposition that was part of an excessive force lawsuit against Mills that was settled in 2017, the victim said Mills grilled him about drugs he believed he was hiding and penetrated his anus with a finger.
“I never felt so violated in my life,” the man said. He was later released without being arrested or charged.
Mills later faced discipline in 2016 for comments he made about a Black woman’s hair during a traffic stop. In 2019, he was disciplined again for taunting teens that had been stopped for loitering outside of a liquor store. According to an internal affairs report, Mills grabbed the hands of one teen and commented on them being “soft” and remarking that he’d “never been in a fight.” He later swatted a cellphone out of the hands of another teen and said, “I hope he runs.”
The Black mother of one of the teens filed a complaint against Mills, accusing him of racial bias for speaking to her in an “angry and abrupt manner” that was different than the way he spoke to a white woman at the scene.
The criminal charge comes after the State Attorney’s Office recently reviewed other cases involving Mills, and found “concerning” behavior in seven of them, the Sentinel reported. In February, Mills was fired by the police department after being denied an extension on an unpaid medical leave of absence.