To workaday folks who punch time cards and get written up for infractions, it may seem surprising that a Broward Sheriff's Office deputy can have complaints against him sustained ten times, and be recommended for suspension six times, yet still remain
Dorsett's career came into focus because Gary Kollin, a civil rights attorney in Fort Lauderdale, is currently suing BSO and Dorsett for wrongful arrest based on an incident in Parkland on April 11, 2013. Kollin had called
Dorsett has had quite a history with Internal Affairs since joining the department in 2006. In ten of 11 investigations of Dorsett, complaints were sustained and investigators recommended he be disciplined in some form. On six different occasions, supervisors recommended he be suspended. (Documents provided by BSO are unclear as to whether he actually served all of those suspensions.)
Dorsett, who is originally from Westchester County, New York,
The deputy was found to have failed to file police reports after arresting suspects or responding to distress calls. In one instance, investigators found that Dorsett left the scene of a car accident in which a man had hit a tree and injured his hand. Dorsett also failed to write a crash report afterward, and supervisors recommended he be suspended for 10 days.
In another case, Dorsett neglected to file a report for a crack-cocaine arrest or turn any drug evidence into the crime lab, leading to the defendant’s charges being dropped. Investigators said Dorsett was unable to locate the missing drugs. They recommended a suspension.
In December of 2007, a Deerfield woman called the police to complain that Dorsett had seized $396 when he arrested her. She claimed Dorsett had promised to give the money back when she was released from jail, but said the pair had been unable to set up a time to meet. After Dorsett called her again in January 2008, she alerted the police, and Dorsett finally gave the money to the evidence unit, roughly six weeks after it had been seized. Dorsett later told Internal Affairs that he was just trying to be a “nice guy” and keep her money safe.
Dorsett was accused of fracturing the wrist of a 13-year-old, 105-pound girl while handcuffing her in 2011. Though Internal Affairs deemed a complaint by the girl’s mother, Susana Sethi, “not sustained,” medical records show the girl was diagnosed with a sprained wrist the day after her arrest. Nine days after the incident, the girl sought care again for the same
In every case except the 13-year-old’s arrest, Internal Affairs found that Dorsett had violated police policy. In addition to the proposed suspensions, Internal Affairs has recommended written reprimands
As of February 2015, Dorsett made $69,271 and served on the burglary apprehension team. BSO spokesperson Keyla Concepción said via email that in deciding whether to terminate on
Michael Piper, attorney for both Dorsett and the sheriff’s office, said that while Dorsett’s Internal Affairs records might “make for a good story,” Dorsett’s past has “absolutely nothing to do with anything involving this incident with Mr. Kollin.”
“I know attorney Kollin,” Piper added, “and he is certainly a contentious individual. It appears that he’s no stranger to melodrama, either."
Dorsett, through his lawyer, declined to comment for this story.
Kollin’s suit comes at a time when police departments across the country face increased scrutiny for the ways in which they deal with the public, apply physical force, and discipline problem officers. In November of last year, an Illinois court forced the Chicago Police Department to release thousands of complaint records. After analyzing that data, the New York Times found that from 2011 to 2015, 97 percent of more than 28,500 citizen complaints resulted in no officer being punished.
Phil Sweeting, a Boca Raton law enforcement consultant, said departments often stop short of disciplining or firing cops in order to protect themselves from lawsuits. If an internal investigation finds that a cop wrongfully used force, Sweeting said, that decision could become grounds for a lawsuit.
Sweeting said the 11 complaints against Dorsett are “seemingly a high number.”
In general, Sweeting said, Internal Affairs investigators hate dealing with individuals who face repeated complaints: “These guys are typically a pain in the ass to them.”
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.