Man alleges West Palm Beach Police unjustly beat him during unwarranted arrest

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida – Sixty-four-year-old John Monroque was arrested back in November of 2019 and was left with a battered and bloody face, which can be seen clearly in his mugshot taken from that very night.

Monroque says he’s disabled, but used to work for the City of West Palm Beach until he hurt his back. Since then, he’s helped the owners of Food Plus from time to time.

Monroque has known the owners of Food Plus market in West Palm Beach for years.

However, on Nov. 1, 2019, everything changed.

According to Monroque, he went back to the market to get some cigarettes for a friend and was stunned when one of the owner’s sons called the police.

Monroque described the moment two West Palm Beach Police officers arrived. “When the police walked in, he told the police, ‘I don’t even know,’” and I said, ‘What did I do?’”

Two officers responded. They asked him for his ID, and while they were running it, Monroque and an officer were left alone. According to Monroque, he was upset police were even called in the first place.

“I’m a good person,” says Monroque.

Then, Monroque went up to the officer to ask for his ID back. “I go, ‘How long are you going to keep my ID for?’” he recalls.

That’s when the unexpected happened.

“He got behind me and jumped on my back, punched me in my face, and then slammed me on top of the car,” says Monroque.

In police body camera video, Monroque’s back is turned away from the officer. Monroque says not only was he not resisting, but he didn’t even see the officer coming.

However, in the police report, the officer says Monroque was yelling profanities at a pedestrian, and that is when the officer grabbed him from behind and put him on a patrol car to arrest him.

But according to Monroque, he was just speaking to a good friend he knew.

Despite this, the police report states Monroque was not cooperating, resisting commands, and even went to reach for an officer’s gun holster, magazine, and taser.

West Palm Beach Police say that while he was bleeding on the ground and punched in the head multiple times, the arrest was warranted, as he continued to yell obscenities at the officers and even spit blood at them.

Only a legal advisor for the department that looked at the body cam video has said the force was justified, not a review board. The FDLE will obtain this video to investigate.

However, Monroque is still demanding answers, and is seeking for justice to be served against the two officers.

“Be good, and stop being evil,” he says.

About the Author:

Sanela Sabovic joined Local 10 News in September 2012 as an assignment editor and associate producer. In August 2015, she became a full-time reporter and fill-in traffic reporter. Sanela holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications with a concentration in radio, television and film from DePaul University.