A Florida father and daughter were both arrested last week after they both got caught up in a police encounter at a Save A Lot store in Lakeland; the daughter is now claiming her dad was hospitalised following the arrest.
Joseph Lee, 55, can allegedly barely talk after being detained, according to his daughter, Anjelica Lee, 27 who spoke to NBC News, saying her father, who already had a pacemaker, sustained an acute kindly injury in the encounter and is undergoing dialysis.
She claimed to the outlet that Mr Lee, was accused by a white female employee of stealing a banana, although she explained that he ate a banana on the way to the cashier but still paid for it at the desk. Despite this, the woman allegedly followed Mr Lee outside and continued to accuse him of stealing.
Ms Lee said to NBC came over to see what was going on and confronted the woman, saying she feared for her father’s safety, so she got a bat from the car and approached her, the outlet reported.
While Ms Lee told the outlet she did not threaten the woman with the bat, but the woman proceeded to call the police, and at some point, she got back and sat in her car.
“The police got out with their guns drawn, repeatedly saying, ‘Get out of the effin’ car,’” Ms Lee said to NBC.
“My dad said to me: ‘Don’t get out of the car until they can fully see you because they’re going to shoot.’ And after he said that, nine or 10 of them jumped on him, and then they slammed him on the car.”
“You’re hurting me. I can’t breathe,” she said she heard her father screaming.
At this point, Ms Lee got out of her car, and claimed the police handcuffed her and put her in the back of a car, she said, claiming that she could see her father lying in the middle of the road with several officers on him.
However, in affidavits obtained by The Independent, how her father was detained is described differently, even adding that Ms Lee “struck” an officer.
Police responded to a call on 23 January of a female with a bat causing a disturbance. The affidavit said Mr Lee refused to step away from a vehicle he was standing in front of, which Ms Lee also was inside of, telling police he was on a sidewalk.
He was asked multiple times as he was “interfering with the officers’ investigation” of the disturbance but refused, so he was arrested on a charge of resisting officers without violence.
A spokesperson for the police department told The Independent that “Mr Lee began to resist efforts to be handcuffed and was placed against the hood of a vehicle to obtain control of his person. During efforts to handcuff Mr. Lee, Anjelica struck the arresting officer. One additional officer assisted with handcuffing Mr Lee.”
In a separate affidavit, when an officer moved to detain Mr Lee, Ms Lee allegedly approached an officer and “stuck him in the arm against his will.”
Ms Lee was arrested on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and battery on a law enforcement officer, although Ms Lee told the outlet that she does not remember hitting anyone.
The woman who made the call to the police claimed that she encountered Ms Lee, who told her, while holding the bat, to “clock out cause I’m gonna whoop your a**,” according to the affidavit. Ms Lee said to NBC that she remembered telling the woman to meet her outside but not saying that.
After putting the bat back in her car, she allegedly went inside the store and knocked items off the shelves, but also denied doing so to the outlet.
Ms Lee told police that she got out her bat because her father told her the employee had put her hands on him. She did allegedly admit to a police officer that she threatened her with the bat, the affidavit said.
A police spokesperson told The Independent that after Mr Lee was put in the patrol car he initially did not complain of any physical discomfort, but a short while after began to complain of chest pain and requested medical assistance based on a “previous medical condition.”
Officers “quickly called for medical assistance,” and first responders came within minutes, at which point Mr Lee was “alert and responsive” when medical personnel asked him questions, the spokesperson said, adding that he was transported to Lakeland Regional Health via ambulance.
However, Ms Lee said to the outlet that her father can barely talk and is confused.
“He’s waking up panicked,” she said to NBC. “He doesn’t know where he’s at. He can no longer feed himself. We have to do that for him. They’re saying that some of the injuries could be long-term.”
“We are aware of Anjelica’s allegations. There were no firearms drawn, there was no protective action (OC or Pepper Spray, Baton or Taser) used with Mr Lee and at no time was Mr Lee placed on the ground,” the police department spokesperson said to The Independent.
A Save A Lot spokesperson said in a statement to NBC that the store is “aware of a confrontation between customers and store team members” at the Lakeland location.
“The local owner/operator of the store is working with local authorities and the store team to investigate the incident,” they added.
The Independent has contacted Save A Lot for comment.