Florida House candidate Elijah Manley is going ahead with plans to file charges against a Wilton Manors man who he says attacked him during a recent neighborhood canvass.
A Wilton Manors police report details Manley’s July 5 encounter with Robert Breakell, 49, inside an apartment complex where Manley was hanging door fliers for his campaign.
According to the police report Breakell told officers he confronted Manley after seeing him place fliers on doors, but denied ever putting his hands on him.
However the police report also states Breakell “was visibly intoxicated, and had the strong smell of alcohol on his breath. [He] couldn't state what or how many drinks he consumed.”
“It should be noted that Breakell gave inconsistent stories on what happened while talking with officers, but continued to state he never put his hands on Manley,” the report reads.
Wilton Manors City Commissioner Julie Carson was walking her dog when she noticed Manley outside the apartment complex.
“He indicated he had gone up to a complex and it was hot and he went in to canvass and a man came out and assaulted him, knocked him down and told him to get the fuck off the property,” Carson told SFGN.
Carson said another person came out of the apartment complex and pleaded with Manley to drop the incident.
“One of the residents of the condo complex comes out who also happens to be drunk says to Elijah, ‘Please, please just let this go [...] please just let this go,’” Carson told SFGN.
The 21-year-old Manley, a queer person of color, is campaigning for the Democratic nomination in House District 94. Last week, he was endorsed by the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida.
Manley said he was hanging door fliers in the complex when Breakell approached from behind and pushed him.
“He pushed me, tried to drag me and verbally harassed me,” Manley said.
Carson said police officers told her Breakell used foul language during their interview.
Manley said he is proceeding with misdemeanor charges against Breakell.
According to the police report the incident may have been caught on video. However police officers were not able to access the video at the time of the incident and stated they would follow up later to continue their investigation.
“Outside of exceptional circumstances, such as a case of domestic violence, police officers cannot make an arrest for a misdemeanor which occurs out of their presence. The victim has to first file a police report, retrieve a copy of it, and present it to the state attorney's filing unit,” said criminal defense attorney Russell Cormican. “Based on the credibility of that presentation, supported by any statements the victim has of witnesses to back his story up, the state then makes a decision of whether or not to charge the suspect with a crime. He would then get a summons to appear in court on a certain date, or if charged with a felony, he could get arrested."