SARASOTA (WWSB) - Protestors tonight showing their support for Govinda Howell, the 40-year-old man with mental disabilities who some witnesses say was the victim of police brutality during a traffic stop in Newtown on Sunday as shown on video.
“We want to see community oversight of the police department, we want to see an independent body conduct this investigation, a body that will not be biased, a body that is not police officers basically investigating their buddies," said Ruth Beltran with Answer Suncoast, one of the organizers of the rally.
Sarasota’s Police Chief says their Internal Affairs and Complaints Unit will complete a fair, thorough, impartial and transparent investigation into the incident. Police say Howell had not been following their commands and had put narcotics into his mouth to chew and destroy them. Gilda Williams, the aunt of Govinda Howell participated in the rally, where the highlighted signs included Justice for Govinda Howell and Fire the Officers, among many other signs.
“We have to come together, we have to solve this problem of just because you get a traffic stop," said Williams. "You get pulled out of a car and it makes no sense that you get beat like that if you don’t comply.”
Howell has been released from Sarasota Memorial Hospital. He has bonded out of jail.