More than a year after a surveillance video captured two Florida deputies in Broward County attacking a man, punching him, then slamming him to the ground at a gas station, then afterwards claiming in their reports he had “lunged” at them, the deputies were criminally charged for their actions.
However, deputies Justin Lambert and Mike Manresa are only facing misdemeanor charges of falsifying records.
Lambert, who the video shows, punched David Gonzalez, leaving the 51-year-old man with a fractured orbital socket, was charged with misdemeanor battery.
Neither deputy has been arrested. In fact, the Broward State Attorney’s Office issued the summons last month without informing the public or the media, even though the incident was covered by several news companies after Bob Norman of Local 10 broke the story. Norman, who has been covering developments in the case since last year, only learned of the recent summons through a tip.
Both deputies remain suspended with pay.
From Norman’s original story:
Both deputies claimed in reports that Gonzalez initially raised his hand at Lambert, something the video doesn’t show. Both also wrote that Gonzalez pulled his hands away from their grasp as they tried to apprehend him, again something the video doesn’t support. In fact, it seems to show Gonzalez offering his hands for an arrest just before Lambert hits him for the second time.
“I was just giving my hands (as if to say), ‘If you’re going to arrest me, go ahead and arrest me,'” Gonzalez said.
Manresa wrote in his complaint that Gonzalez remained belligerent after Manresa and Lambert “escorted” him to the ground.
“He’s thrown onto his face,” Rudenberg said. “He’s not escorted anywhere.”
Gonzalez was charged with two counts of resisting arrest, but those charges were dropped after the video surfaced last year. Read the arrest report here, then look at the video below, to note the falsification of records.
Deputies first confronted Gonzalez after receiving a call from the manager of the gas station, who said he was drunk and wanted him trespassed off the property.
Lambert, the deputy charged with misdemeanor battery for punching Gonzalez at least three times, has “a long – and expensive – history of police misconduct,” according to the Broward New Times.
Prior to being hired in 2000, he had a previous arrest for strong-arm robbery, but the New Times doesn’t indicate where this took place. But he was fired five months later for “substandard performance,” failing to meet probationary standards.
But he was rehired in 2001 as a detention deputy, then became a full-time deputy three years later after he was rejected by four other police departments.
Five years later, he beat and tasered a 50-year-old man named Jorge Rodriguez, resulting in the county having to pay the man $350,000 in damages.
And it is likely the county will have to dish out more money as Gonzalez has a pending lawsuit.