BAY LAKE, Fla. — A Massachusetts police detective is facing criminal charges in Florida after authorities say he assaulted two security guards and a sheriff’s deputy while at a Disney theme park in late January.
Brookline Detective Duane Danforth, 39, of Wilmington, has been placed on paid administrative leave amid an investigation into a violent altercation that took place at the United Kingdom Lochside at Epcot on Jan. 30, according to Brookline Police Chief Jennifer Paster and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
An Orange County Sheriff’s Office deputy responded to Epcot at 1320 Avenue of the Stars in Bay Lake for a report of a battery in process and learned that Danforth was stopped by a security guard when he tried to enter a private event, according to an arrest affidavit.
Danforth then allegedly removed ropes that were in place, and told the security guard, “I’m going to [expletive] kill you,” before shoving him aside, the responding deputy wrote in the affidavit.
A second security guard told the deputy that he heard Danforth repeatedly scream, “I will [expletive] kill you,” and that he had a “crazy look in his eyes and appeared intoxicated,” the affidavit stated. Danforth allegedly pushed this guard as well.
The affidavit further alleged that Danforth pushed away the responding deputy when he approached and tried to speak with him.
“I immediately regained my balance, and I attempted to secure Duane. During that effort, I redirected Duane to the floor to try to secure him. While Duane was on the floor, he attempted to resist and tense up as we tried to maintain control and secure him with my handcuffs. I gave Duane verbal commands to stop resisting, and Duane continued to push away. He was later then secured in agency handcuffs,” the deputy wrote in the affidavit.
Investigators noted that multiple park guests recorded the alleged altercations and that Danforth had a child in his arms at the time.
Danforth is charged with battery, assault and battery on law enforcement, and resisting an officer without violence.
Police in Brookline said Danforth “will remain on leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.”
In a statement on his arrest, the Brookline Police Union said Danforth is a veteran officer who has served the community for 14 years, a former “Officer of the Year” winner, and an Army veteran.
“We are aware of the allegations against Detective Danforth and recognize that they are serious. We are committed to working with the administration as a thorough and fair investigation is done. Detective Danforth is a veteran police officer, serving our community for 14 years,” the Union wrote. “He has been recognized with numerous commendations for excellent police work during his career, and also as Officer of the Year in 2021. He has also proudly served our country in the United States Army with a number of deployments overseas.”
The Union added, “Despite Detective Danforth’s many years of outstanding service to our country and community, we also recognize that no person is perfect. We believe that one single instance of alleged misconduct should not overshadow his otherwise exemplary service to Brookline and our country.”
Read the full arrest affidavit below:
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