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‘He Did Not Mean Anything By It’: Florida Deputy Suspended for Calling Black Man ‘Boy’ Says He’s Just a ‘Country Boy’ Who Uses the Word to Refer to Everyone

A Broward County Sheriff’s Office deputy has been suspended for eight hours after he called a Black man “boy” and grabbed his throat during an encounter outside a hotel in, Dania Beach, Florida, in July 2017.

Allen Floyd was holding his infant son during the exchange captured on Deputy James Cady’s body camera.

“We all know, a Black male, when you call him ‘boy,’ you tell a colored man ‘boy,’ it’s like, you’re degrading his character,” Floyd told television station WSVN in 2019. “You mean nothing to this person ’cause you’re calling me a boy.”

The incident was not reported but was first discovered when public defenders watched the footage in preparation for a different trial, then filed a complaint against the sheriff’s office. Cady won’t be criminally charged and his suspension stems from four internal affairs charges, including conduct unbecoming.

Allen Floyd was holding his infant son during the exchange captured on Deputy James Cady’s body camera. (Photos: Broward County Sheriff’s Office)

In July of 2016, officers responded to a hotel following complaints that the mother of Floyd’s child was drunk and had broken a television as hotel staff attempted to evict her.

When Cady approached, Floyd was sitting outside the hotel with his 9-month-old son on his lap.

“I’m going to take her to jail cause she’s got a warrant. And I’m going to call child services on this kid,” Cady said.

He then demanded that Floyd show him his ID.

“You don’t have to see my ID,” Floyd said before the situation escalated.

“OK, fine. I’m going to take you to jail ’cause you got a warrant, OK? And I’m going to put Child Services on this kid,” said Cady, adding, “Quit f-cking with me, boy.”

“This is my baby, man. Stop calling me ‘boy,'” Floyd said. “We can communicate like grown men.”

According to the complaint filed by the public defenders, Cady’s comments and tone were “inflammatory,” “angry,” and “derogatory.”

Floyd began walking away, saying, “Don’t call me boy, boy.” Cady grabbed Floyd’s arm then he and another deputy detained him, although Floyd was not arrested that night.

The “video clearly depicts Mr. Floyd attempting to de-escalate the situation as he talked to the deputy,” the complaint said. “Deputy Cady responds by grabbing Mr. Floyd by his neck and chokes him,” then pushes him into a car “all while Mr. Floyd is holding his infant child.”

Cady later said he wanted to see Floyd’s ID to ensure the baby he was holding was safe.

According to the State Attorney’s Office, Cady did not break any laws, but a prosecutor noted in a memo that Cady “unnecessarily escalated the situation, and used offensive language … that is wholly inappropriate for a member of law enforcement,” News 7 reported.

Cady told investigators he’s a “country boy” who uses the word “boy” to refer to people regardless of race.

“He did not mean anything by it,” investigators wrote. “There was no racial connotation behind it. Looking back at the incident now, he believes he could have handled things a little better. He added that his cursing and swearing was not ideal.”

His poor judgment and failure to properly document the force used during the incident are the reasons for his eight-hour suspension.

Broward County Public Defender Gordon Weekes criticized the penalty as a “slap on the wrist,” asking, “Does it really send a message that that type of behavior is not to be tolerated?”

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