FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The battery trial for a Hollywood police officer began on Friday.
Officer Matthew Barbieri was charged with battery after home surveillance video showed him hitting a handcuffed suspect on Aug. 6, 2019.
During opening statements, Barbieri’s attorney told jurors that he was certain they would find his client innocent, claiming his actions were justified that day because the suspect was “out of control” and “violent.”
According to his arrest affidavit, the incident occurred when Barbieri and another officer, identified as Diante Roots, responded to a home in the 2400 block of Cleveland Street regarding a domestic disturbance.
Raymond Schachner Sr. testified on Friday that he called 911 telling a dispatcher that his son was on heroin, was naked, was yelling and was going crazy.
“He finally came out of the bathroom yelling at me so at that point I felt threatened by him,” Schachner said.
Raymond Schachner Jr. told the officers that they had no right to search his home.
Barbieri’s attorney said in court Friday that Schachner Jr. lunged at his client when the officer was trying to preserve evidence and control an erratic, screaming man.
According to the affidavit, the suspect was escorted out of the bathroom by Barbieri and is heard in the video claiming to be in pain. Schachner was not in camera view at the time, but authorities believe handcuffs were being placed on him.
Police said Barbieri is heard telling Schachner to “shut up” a couple of times as he continued to act erratically. Schachtner’s attorney said that Barbieri’s actions were an abuse of power and his actions constitute a crime.
According to the arrest affidavit, Barbieri re-entered the efficiency’s bathroom in an apparent effort to locate narcotics, at which time the suspect began yelling: “Wait a minute, wait a minute. Nobody gave you permission to search the house. There’s no warrant, no nothing. There’s no permission.”
Police said Roots told the Schachner to “shut the f*** up,” and the man responded, “No. There’s no permission. What do you mean ‘shut the f*** up?’ No permission, bro.”
Police said Barbieri then exited the bathroom and struck the victim twice in the face with his right hand before placing his left hand on the suspect’s throat as the man slid down the wall to the floor.
The affidavit states that Schachner was heard repeatedly yelling, “Ow.”
Barbieri responded by saying, “How about now? How about now? Do I have permission now?” the affidavit states.
Police said the suspect was arrested on a charge of possession of heroin. Authorities said he sustained a minor cut to his forehead.
According to the affidavit, Barbieri was heard in the video telling a third officer who arrived at the scene: “I’m gonna have to say that he was kicking.”
Barbieri was relieved of duty after the Hollywood Police Department was notified about the video.
If convicted, he faces a maximum punishment of up to one year in jail.
Schachner has also filed a civil suit against the officer. Barbieri is expected to testify in his own defense. Testimony is expected to come to an end next Wednesday.