FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Two Broward Sheriff's Office deputies who were seen in surveillance video striking a man and throwing him to the pavement were reassigned to desk duty Thursday pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
David Gonzalez, 50, admits he was drinking but said he was just using words to defend himself against an allegation that he had stolen some beer at a Texaco station in Deerfield Beach when he was struck twice and slammed to the ground.
Gonzalez told Local 10 he has a feeling this isn't the first time something like that has happened.
"They probably have done this before and they have gotten away with it," Gonzalez said.
In fact, another excessive force allegation was made against the BSO, this one involving Jorge Rodriguez and his wife in a 2009 incident that ended in December. The BSO paid a $350,000 settlement in taxpayer money to the couple.
Rodriguez's neighbor, Carmine Genovese, said it happened when deputies arrived at a part at Gonzalez's house involving loud music.
Genovese said Rodriguez told him "just that they basically beat him up."
Both men claimed Deputy Justin Lambert struck them without provocation.
In the video obtained by Local 10, Gonzalez appears to have his hands out to be arrested just before he's struck, grabbed and slammed to the ground.
According to the federal lawsuit, Rodriguez also had his hands out as if to be arrested when Lambert tackled him to the ground, punched him and stunned him with a Taser several times.
Gonzalez's attorneys, Eric Rudenberg and Mike Glasser, said they are preparing a federal lawsuit against Lambert, his partner, Deputy Mike Manresa, and the BSO.
Local 10 has requested the video of the Rodriguez incident but has not yet received it.
Lambert was never disciplined or internally investigated for the prior incident.