BSO deputy accused of beating man testifies in his trial

Deputy Justin Lambert claims man had knife on him

By Andrew Perez - Reporter, Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. - A Broward Sheriff's Office deputy accused of beating a man during an arrest at a gas station in 2014 testified Monday in his trial.

Deputy Justin Lambert is charged with battery and falsifying records.

Lambert said Monday that he was called to the gas station in Deerfield Beach after receiving a report of a petty theft involving an intoxicated person.

He said he did everything he was trained to do.

Lambert and another deputy, Mike Manresa, reported that the man accused of shoplifting, David Gonzalez, was belligerent, swore at them and lunged at them while raising his hand.   

But video of the rough arrest that was later released led to the deputies being charged.

On Monday, Lambert said Gonzalez had a knife in his pocket during the incident.

"It never slowed down -- his actions," Lambert said.  

Lambert said Gonzalez was standing on the curb, which gave him a tactical advantage and said Gonzalez disobeyed several commands.

"I was scared, frankly. He's a big guy too," Lambert said. 

Lambert demonstrated the takedown step by step in the courtroom with the help of a defense intern.

Gonzalez, who admitted during his own testimony last week that he is an alcoholic, has undergone dental repair and needed surgery to fix his eye socket after the incident. 

The defense argues this was a lawful arrest, insisting Gonzalez was belligerent and aggressive, and that Lambert used restraint during a tense situation. 

Lambert told the jury he didn't have a body camera with audio back then, but wishes he had.

Lambert has been suspended without pay since being charged. Manresa is currently on restricted administrative duty.
 

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