ORLANDO, Fla. - Recently unsealed court records detail multiple investigations into two Daytona Beach Shores Police Department officers who were accused of child abuse after they allegedly put their child in handcuffs and placed him briefly in a jail cell after he had an accident.
According to the documents, an anonymous complaint was filed with the Florida Department of Children and Families in October 2022 alleging child abuse. The Department of Children and Families opened an investigation, as well as the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office and its Child Protection Team, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).
Court documents, which were unsealed Friday following a public records request, state that the Department of Children and Families determined the allegations to be "unfounded." However, the FDLE Special Agent assigned to the case found there was probable cause to recommend charges of aggravated child abuse.
The 74-page report recommending the charges was presented to the State Attorney in January 2023, according to the records. The State Attorney’s Seventh Judicial Court declined to file formal charges stating "evidence shows there is no physical or mental injury to the child. As such, no further action is warranted by this office," the records state.
It was then transferred to the Daytona Beach Shores Police Department for administrative review. The police department’s investigation found both employees violated department policy by conducting themselves in a way that "could engender a lack of respect for the employee, the city, or the department." It was not immediately clear what punishment, if any, the officers received from the department.
Bodycam video released earlier this week shows employees with the Department of Children and Families and law enforcement asking the parents questions about the allegations. FOX 35 has decided not to name the parents because they are not facing charges, as well as to protect the child’s identity.
The hour-long video was mostly pixilated and blurred by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office. However, the audio was there. FOX 35 submitted a public records request to receive it.
In the video, the father told officials that he did put his child in a jail cell because his child had an accident, and he hoped it would help with potty training.
"You’re not following the rules. Let’s go to jail," the father allegedly told his child after he reportedly had an accident, according to the video. "So, yes, I took him there and put him inside a jail cell."
"He was crying, and he’s like ‘I’ll never do it again," the dad told the investigators.
According to the video, the dad said it was the second time the child had been placed in a jail cell – and that both were due to potty training accidents. The alleged incidents happened on back-to-back days. The mom put the child in a cell for 3 to 5 minutes one day, he said in the video, and he put the child in handcuffs and then in a jail cell on the second day, according to the video.
"We tried books. We tried different – run around without pants. We tried. I mean, like you name it, we tried it," he said.