Mother accuses Jupiter police of excessive force during son's arrest

JUPITER, Fla. -- A Tequesta mother has accused the Jupiter Police Department of using excessive force on her son after its officers arrested him on trespassing and other charges.

Cody Ross Blankenship was arrested on June 6th after Charlene Freeman, his mother, said he had gone fishing near Sawfish Bay Park in the 1100 block of Alternate A1A.

"It was after midnight and he got his fishing line wrapped around a dock which was someone's personal dock, he walked over there to undo the fishing line, and the owner of the dock said he'd called the police," Freeman said. "So, my son panicked, and was scared and he ran."

According to probable cause affidavit, Blankenship didn't stop when officers asked him to.

The report says he resisted when officers tried to arrest him.

"It was one or two officers beating him in the head as the other two had their knees in his back," Freeman said. "The last thing he remembers doing is screaming, and yelling and crying, going, 'Please stop, I'm not resisting. Please stop, I'm not resisting.' "

According to the arrest report, Blankenship had reached for, what officers said appeared to be a syringe.

Freeman said it was hand sanitizer.

According to the arrest report, Blankenship struggled with officers.

One officer is said to have struck him five times, including once in the head.

Blankenship has a history of arrests, run-ins with law enforcement and substance abuse problems, Freeman said.

"We're all human. We all make mistakes. Even if this was not my son, I would fight for someone I didn't know, because it is absolutely excessive force from law enforcement," Freeman said. "I don't see his soul anymore like he's... as bad as his face is beaten his soul is, too. It's unjust."

Sgt. Scott Pascarella, a spokesperson for the Jupiter Police Department, said an investigation into the use of force had been opened by the department -- a standard practice.

Pascarella said officers were trained in the use of force and could use force "consistent with the level of resistance."

The officer involved in the struggle with Blankenship was placed on medical leave.

Pascarella was not aware of the nature of the officer's injuries or how long the officer would be on leave.

Blankenship has been charged with trespassing, battery on an officer, firefighter or EMT, resisting or obstructing an officer without violence and resisting an officer with violence.

Freeman said she intended to sue the police department.

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