Suspended BSO deputy's testimony continues

Gerald Wengert charged with battery, falsifying records, official misconduct


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A suspended Broward Sheriff's Office deputy accused of beating a teenager after a traffic stop and writing a false report testified for the second day in a row Thursday.

Gerald Wengert, 34, was arrested in July 2012 and charged with battery, falsifying records and official misconduct. He was suspended without pay after his arrest.

Wengert underwent cross examination Thursday.

"I've just never heard that," he told a prosecutor. "If you want to play it, you can."

During a December 1, 2010, traffic stop, Wengert, a featured deputy on TLC's show "Unleashed Broward County," arrested Mark Visconti, then 17, the sheriff's office said.

Wengert arrested Visconti on charges of resisting arrest and battery on a law enforcement officer. According to Wengert's arrest warrant, the deputy initially reported that Visconti was driving recklessly on Stirling Road. Once the teen was pulled over, Wengert said Visconti got out of his car and resisted arrest.

"I've done numerous traffic stops like this throughout my career," he said. "The way that I've always been trained is that nobody in the state of Florida can resist arrest whether they believe it's lawful or not."

An internal affairs investigation indicated that Wengert, who was never dispatched to the scene, arrived while on the phone with his girlfriend, Jessica Mercer. A witness said Visconti and his passenger saw two of their friends on the street and decided to pick them up, stopping at a stop sign and delaying Mercer.

Visconti then drove to a nearby Wendy's restaurant, the warrant said, followed by Mercer. As Visconti and his friends left the Wendy's, Wengert pulled into the plaza.

Wengert then pulled Visconti over about a half mile away, "yanked him out of the car, threw him against the car and began aggressively searching him," the report said. A witness said Wengert punched Visconti several times and put him in a headlock. Visconti suffered injuries to his face and legs and was taken to the hospital.

Closing arguments begin at 1:30 p.m. Friday.