Community Information Specialist
DELAND POLICE OFFICER TERMINATED FOLLOWING SEPTEMBER 2017 INCIDENT
Please see the statement below from Police Chief Jason Umberger regarding the termination of Officer Johan Mulero following a September 2017 incident. Officer Mulero, who was hired February 4, 2013, was notified of his termination this morning.
Body cam of the incident is available here.
“On or about July 26, 2018 as the result of litigation filed against our City, the Police Department became aware of the conduct of one of our officers identified as Officer Johan Mulero. In the lawsuit it was alleged that Mulero had falsely detained Mr. Allan Kidd during a September 14, 2017 arrest. It wasn’t until July 26, 2018 that DeLand PD learned that a full length video existed of this incident.
Here is a brief timeline of events:
On May 24, 2018, the city received a notice of intent to litigate. The notice was filed by the law office of Scott N. Miller, P.A. on behalf of Mr. Allan Kidd against the Police Department and alleged Officer Johan Mulero caused personal injuries and related damages to Mr. Kidd as a result of him falsely detaining Mr. Kidd. In the fall of 2017 the Police Department had body worn camera technology that did not function properly and as a result we were unaware that a full video existed of the incident. We have since changed companies and the way we manage body worn camera video and its storage.
On or about July 26, 2018 the city received a second notice and a copy of a full length video of the incident. Upon reviewing this video, Internal Affairs brought the video to me and I viewed it. Mulero was immediately placed on administrative leave with pay and a formal internal affairs investigation was ordered. I directed Internal Affairs to provide a copy of the video and subsequent police reports to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to determine whether or not a criminal investigation or criminal charges were warranted. FDLE and the Office of the State Attorney, 7th Judicial District, reviewed the video and police reports and determined that no further criminal investigation was warranted nor were any criminal charges warranted against Officer Mulero. They referred the matter back to the DeLand Police Department for an administrative internal investigation stating in their report to our Police Department that the conduct was “troubling and inappropriate”.
The subsequent internal affairs investigation found that Mulero engaged in conduct unbecoming of a police officer, made an unlawful arrest for the crime of Resisting Arrest without Violence section 843.02 Florida Statutes and therefore used unnecessary and/or excessive force to affect an arrest that lacked any probable cause and therefore any legal basis. Further, his conduct violated our Departmental code of conduct, our mission statement and our core values. His conduct was unprofessional and is not in keeping with the standard of conduct expected from members of the DeLand Police Department. In addition, he failed to apply the numerous trainings he has received in the areas of de-escalation techniques and verbal judo thereby escalating a situation which otherwise may have been resolved without a physical confrontation.
The relevant facts of this case are that the Police Department did not become aware of the conduct of our officer until 10 months after the incident occurred (video received 7-26-18) and then subsequently that the State Attorney’s Office had determined that the arrest of Mr. Kidd lacked sufficient probable cause to affect a criminal arrest and that it had been dismissed from the court docket.
Police officers are called upon to serve our residents and we often encounter challenging scenarios and in the majority of incidents our officers display remarkable restraint, patience and valor as they respond to calls for service. However, there are times when our actions do not come anywhere near achieving the standards of excellence that we have set for our officers at the DeLand Police Department. Unfortunately, this is one of those times.
As a result of the sustained findings of misconduct on the part of Officer Johan Mulero, I recommended to the City Manager that Officer Mulero be terminated from employment as a police officer. The City Manager has upheld this recommendation.”