DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. - Surveillance video taken at a Deerfield Beach gas station shows two Broward Sheriff's Office deputies striking a man and then slamming him to the ground.
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 by a deputy and slammed violently face-first to the pavement.
The two BSO deputies questioning him -- Justin Lambert and Mike Manresa -- claim it was Gonzalez who "raised his hand" at them and then resisted arrest, forcing them to "escort him to the ground."
A security camera captured the entire incident.
The video shows Lambert initially striking Gonzalez when he leans in toward him. Gonzalez is knocked back against the gas station wall, where he appears to offer his hands for arrest before Lambert strikes him again, grabs him by the neck and both deputies lift him and slam him down, breaking his left orbital bone, putting a split over his eye that required stitches and knocking him out cold.
"I've never been treated like that in my whole life," Gonzalez told Local 10 in an exclusive interview with investigative reporter Bob Norman. "That's not a way you treat a human being."
The deputies arrested Gonzalez in the Feb. 18 incident on a charge of resisting arrest without violence. His attorneys, Eric Rudenberg and Mike Glasser, said they are preparing a federal lawsuit alleging a false arrest and excessive force.
Both deputies claimed in reports that Gonzalez initially raised his hand at Lambert, something the video doesn't show. Both also wrote that Gonzalez pulled his hands away from their grasp as they tried to apprehend him, again something the video doesn't support. In fact, it seems to show Gonzalez offering his hands for an arrest just before Lambert hits him for the second time.
"I was just giving my hands (as if to say), 'If you're going to arrest me, go ahead and arrest me,'" Gonzalez said.
Manresa wrote in his complaint that Gonzalez remained belligerent after Manresa and Lambert "escorted" him to the ground.
"He's thrown onto his face," Rudenberg said. "He's not escorted anywhere."
Lambert was involved in a similar incident that led to a federal lawsuit that was settled in December for $350,000 in a case that cost taxpayers several hundred thousand dollars more.
"This is not this deputy's first rodeo," Glasser said.
Gonzalez, who has a smattering of arrests in his past, including resisting arrest, said he lost his job as a result and can't afford the $30,000 surgery required for his face.
"They don't deserve to wear a badge," Gonzalez said.
BSO officials declined to be interviewed, saying in an email that they do not believe Norman's reports are balanced. Local 10 refutes that claim.
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