Two Florida police officers charged with battery in incidents involving the arrests of black men
Police tape at Segule home (Screen capture)

Florida prosecutors on Friday announced the filing of misdemeanor battery charges against two Orlando police officers in unrelated 2014 incidents involving the arrests of black men.


Officers Chase Fugate and William Escobar were suspended with pay pending the outcome of separate internal investigations to determine whether their actions violated department policy, according to a police press release.

The investigations come as scrutiny on police has been heightened in recent months by the killing of unarmed blacks by white officers, raising questions about police treatment of racial minorities.

The press release from the office of State Attorney Jeff Ashton offered no details of the specific actions that led to the charges.

Fugate faces two misdemeanor charges of battery for his June 14 arrest of a 22-year-old black man who fled as Fugate attempted to stop him from driving a car reported as stolen, according to the police report of the arrest.

Escobar faces two charges of battery and two charges of perjury, all misdemeanors, stemming from a March 15 incident.

That night, Escobar and his partner checked out a group of people arguing in the street amid the odor of marijuana, and arrested two black men, ages 24 and 33, according to the police reports of the arrests.

Both men were charged with resisting arrest and one with battery on an officer.

Both officers will receive summonses and court dates from the clerk of court, which is standard procedure for misdemeanor charges.

(Editing by David Adams and Bill Trott)