CBS Miami – by Gaby Fleischman
FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Two Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies are under fire, accused of using excessive force—and all of it was caught on camera.
BSO is conducting an internal affairs investigation to find out if the two officers involved were justified in using force and are also questioning why Sheriff Scott Israel wasn’t notified until three months after the incident.
On February 18th, BSO says two of their deputies responded to a convenience store in Deerfield Beach for a report of a theft. 50-year-old David Gonzalez was their suspect.
The store manager, Mohamad Kabir, said a drunk and mumbling Gonzalez stole candy then tried to get beer, offering his watch as a trade.
“He was drunk,” said Kabir. “He said, take my watch give me the 12-pack beer.”
Kabir called police and asked them to give Gonzalez a trespass warning.
Surveillance cameras were rolling when deputies Justin Lambert and Mike Manresa arrived.
According to the deputies reports, Gonzalez was under the influence of alcohol and “acting very belligerent” towards them.
At one point, according to the complaint affidavit, Gonzalez raised his hand and lunged at the deputy while screaming profanities before resisting arrest.
Gonzalez was forced to the ground, according to the report, in order to secure handcuffs.
According to an arrest affidavit, Gonzalez was also combative with fire rescue and medical staff and had to be sedated because of his “belligerent and violent” actions.
One witness who wanted to remain anonymous, tells a different story.
“He didn’t fight back he didn’t resist or anything he was drunk almost unable to stand up on his own so they beat him up pretty bad for no reason,” said the witness.
Gonzalez was treated at the hospital for facial fractures and then taken to jail, charged with two counts of resisting arrest.
The agency said that Tuesday was the first time Sheriff Israel heard about the incident, when protocol is that an investigation begins within 24 hours.
BSO said that the deputies did file the use of force report, but it stayed on the sergeant’s desk.
“The deputies did do a use of force report, it was submitted to the sergeant, and, however, that’s where it stayed there on the sergeant’s desk. So what we’re looking at is why wasn’t the sheriff notified immediately, and also why hadn’t the sergeant forwarded that use of force report to his command,” said Veda Coleman-Wright with BSO.
The sheriff is looking into why the use of force report, which usually gets forwarded quickly, wasn’t given to the sergeant’s command.
The sheriff is also looking into whether any BSO policies and procedures were violated during the arrest.
This incident happened just three months after BSO shelled out $350,000 to settle a federal lawsuit involving Deputy Lambert, who allegedly beat and abused another Broward citizen.
Federal Documents obtained by CBS4 allege Deputy Lambert of “striking, pummeling and pounding” a party host while responding to a noise complaint in Dania Beach back in 2009.
Deputy Lambert ended up back on the streets, now embroiled in another internal investigation involving force. BSO says they are currently looking into why Lambert was allowed back on duty after that case.