It was the month of October, 2011 when police officer Derek Middendorf responded to a phone call over a dispute that had occurred in a small town located in Florida’s Brevard County, known as Melbourne. The dispute in question stemmed from a disagreement over money issues between a 66 year old owner of a local lawn care business, Albert Flowers, and one of his younger employees. Of the incident, Middendorf would later claim that the employee who made the 911-call reported that Flowers was carrying a knife, although this assertion has come under increasing doubt over time. (*) Flowers’s family recalls that the officer was notified beforehand that their loved one suffered with dementia, and by the time Middendorf arrived at the scene, the disagreement had apparently already been resolved. Oddly, in what was supposedly a break with protocol, Officer Middendorf made sure to turn off both the audio and visual recording equipment on his police car’s dashboard before exiting to “inspect the scene”. Had it not been for the fact that video footage was still able to be obtained by processing the equipment’s hard-drive, it is unlikely that members of the public would ever have learned of this incident. The rescue of the film footage allowed room for the Flowers family to issue a formal complaint against the officers involved in the graphic footage you’re about to see, which WFTV 9 obtained and first broke on January 13, 2012.
VIEW THE HORRIFIC FOOTAGE BELOW:
As is most often the case in circumstances such as this, the official police report is greatly at odds with reality, as witnessed by actual film footage. The report absurdly claimed that upon approaching Officer Middendorf, Mr. Albert Flowers walked toward him “aggressively”, would not “stop at a safe distance” and, most ludicrously of all, gave the appearance of “wielding a knife.” (If he really wanted to discern whether or not Flowers was carrying a knife, all that was required of him was using his own two eyeballs!) In contrast, the visual footage shows that Flowers carried nothing in either one of his hands, and that he approached the officer calmly, slowly, and cautiously. Middendorf on the other hand, without the least bit of provocation, responds by delivering a swift and violent kick to the elderly man’s groin, then proceeds to jump directly on top of him, crushing the poor man’s frail body under the considerable weight of his body. As Flowers attempts to lift his fragile head up off the ground, Middendorf in an uncontrollable fit of rage unleashes his fury by pounding his clenched fists into the elderly Flowers’s face.
Garrick Flowers, Albert’s nephew, had been called to the scene earlier to help resolve the dispute between his uncle and the disgruntled employee. In the video he can be seen watching as this scene unfolds before his very eyes, and yet he is tragically forced into a state of helplessness, for he knows all too well what will happen if he were to step in and defend his uncle’s life from this state-sponsored form of terror – he would lose his very life or end up on Florida’s death row, where he would suffer the same fate. Unfortunately this is how police such as Middendorf and the systematic powers he represents wish for it to be. The incalculable number of people who’ve been victimized by police attacks in addition to the court systems that have refused to hold them accountable have given police a real sense of invincibility, and attacks like the one on Albert Flowers are used as a means of signifying to the public that there’s nothing they or anyone else can do about it.
Initial news coverage of the case only briefly noted, if mentioning at all, what occurred next in the video. As Middendorf continues to pulverize Flowers, evidently trying to strangle the poor man, a second unidentified officer who appears to be carrying a taser approaches the scene. With his back turned to the camera, he walks calmly and coolly over to the helpless man on the ground and, without pause, pulls the taser’s trigger barely an inch from Flower’s face, releasing dangerous and painful bolts of electricity directly into him. (**)
In the aftermath of these vicious attacks on the life of Mr. Flowers, he was hospitalized for over a month, recouping from the physical pain and injuries. (^) In the mean time, neither Officer Middendorf nor his taser-wielding friend faced any penalties for what they did to Albert Flowers, despite the Department having access to video evidence presenting beyond a shadow of a doubt the out-of-control nature of the officers serving on their force. Apparently, this is what “justice” looks like in the eyes of each and every official branch of Florida’s State “Justice” System. To this day, the only “disciplinary measure” meted out to Middendorf has been a pathetically written “reprimand”, not for brutally assaulting an innocent citizen, but simply for turning off his dash-cam video equipment! In the end, even the written reprimand was revoked. His colleagues at the Melbourne Police Department have even doubled down in their support of him since the complaint was filed, with Chief Steve Mimbs praising him and stating that he’s “done a good job for the city”. Furthermore, Mimbs is steadfast in his assertion that “an internal investigation is not warranted” in this particular case. (^^) As for what Middendorf himself had to say in his own defense, he briefly reiterated that he “had to protect myself in fear he [Flowers] was going to attack me. Not knowing if he was armed or not, I struck the defendant in the face to distract him.” One wonders how, if we are to take his incredibly lame defense seriously, he ever passed the eyesight exam that should be required to serve on the force. It’s similarly quite difficult to imagine that, in order to “distract” Mr. Flowers, it necessitated turning off his dash-cam’s video and audio recording equipment, drop-kicking Flowers and then attempting to strangle him.
Perhaps the ultimate injustice in this case, however, is the fact that Albert Flowers, after showing a unique amount of resiliency in his ability to survive and withstand such an attack on his life and dignity, was charged with the felonious offense of “inflicting battery on a law enforcement officer.” Thankfully, at least, these charges were dropped on January 18, 2012, although only on the grounds of his had dementia (as if he was deserving of such cruel and unjust treatment were he not suffering with dementia?). Since returning home from the hospital, Albert’s daughter Donna Jackson says her father’s dementia has only gotten progressively worse. And aside from a few local television stations, WFTV 9 foremost among them, there has been little media coverage of this terrible tragedy. Meanwhile Officer Derek Middendorf, who allegedly has a prior history of citizen complaints of abuse, along with the 2nd unnamed taser-wielding officer in the video, are free to patrol the streets, fancying themselves as defenders of “law & order” in the communities they’re sworn to “protect”. The reality of this case delivers a strong, clear message to law enforcement officers everywhere who, like Middendorf, use their distinguished positions of power to do whatever it is they please, safely comforted in the knowledge that they will never be called to account for any of it.
* As the video footage clearly indicates, Officer Derek Middendorf has been anything but truthful in the version of events he’s given. Given the numerous lies he’s told, including the false assertion that Albert Flowers approached him with a knife, his other claims should not be taken at face-value. There is little evidence released thus-far to lend any credence to the assertion that the employee who made the initial 911-phone call made any mention of a knife.
** Further along in this same video, if one manages to make it to the end, yet a third cop is seen arriving on the scene, presumably to provide further “reinforcement”.
^ The reports in January 2012 concerning this case reported that the Melbourne Police Department was silent on whether they felt they were responsible for paying Alert Flowers’s hospital expenses for the injuries he attained from their officers. Upon my research, I have not been able to discover any further information as to ultimately paid the bills.
^^ Chief Mimbs is actually correct on this account. There is little need for the Police Department to conduct an “internal investigation” into the matters of this case, as it would almost certainly be nothing more than a complete sham.