The Marco Island Police Department has been cleared of wrongdoing in the arrest of a woman at a Black Lives Matter rally.
The protest and rally took place on June 3 and resulted in the arrest of Taliya Denham, a 22-year-old Chicago woman, after she allegedly confronted a man and knocked his phone from his hand.
Denham’s father, Howard Denham, filed a complaint against the police department soon after, alleging they knew there would be “agitators” at the rally, including a man armed with an AR-15, and “did nothing to protect the protesters from a man who was intending to be armed with an AR-15.”
The complaint also alleged that the man Taliya Denham confronted was a “known agitator” and MIPD allowed him to be present at the rally, thereby leading to Taliya Denham’s confrontation with the man and to her arrest. The complaint sought to have Taliya Denham’s charge of robbery by sudden snatching reduced from a felony.
Marco Island City Manager Mike McNees commissioned an outside investigation using an independent investigator, Franklin Investigations, Inc., to conduct a thorough review of the events.
MIPD on Monday released the results of the investigation and said Howard Denham “made a sworn statement indicating he no longer took issue with his daughter’s arrest, and he made no claim of injury suffered by his daughter in the course of her arrest.
“The conclusion from the investigative report notes, ‘There is clearly no evidence of any excessive use of force in the arrest of Ms. Denham.’ The report further concluded that ‘The charge of robbery is a felony as dictated by Florida statute. As to the legitimacy of the charge, the State Attorney’s Office has formally filed the robbery charge and the case is pending. As to the question of Ms. Denham’s intent or whether or not charging her with robbery was somehow ‘discriminatory’, these are likely questions for a judge or jury.”
“On June 3, 2020 when approximately fifty protesters marched to City Hall, the Marco Island Police Department was prepared, respectful, and professional to everyone involved. We are proud of the way our police officers, with assistance from Collier County Sheriff’s Office, conducted themselves throughout the course of events. This investigation and its final report confirm that Chief Frazzano and her staff took all appropriate measures to keep the public and the protestors safe during this event,” McNees said.
DOWNLOAD: Marco Island Police F. I. 20-21 (complaint investigation)