FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — New body camera video shows a Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy striking a handcuffed suspect in the head.
The Chief Assistant Public Defender for Broward County says he wants prosecutors to review this case.READ MORE: London-Bound American Airlines Flight Returned To MIA After Woman Refused To Wear A Mask
Chief Assistant Public Defender Gordon Weeks tells CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “It shows how brazen the deputy was to use this type of force even when he knows the camera is running.”
Weeks said, “I think it is very clear that this vid do shows an abuse of power by this officer who intends to extract some punishment. He clearly wanted to beat up Mr. O’Connell rather than use de-escalation techniques. What’s worse is that he manufactured facts so that he could be charged with battery on a law enforcement officer.”
The body cam video from Deputy Jorge Sobrino shows what happens in a room at North Broward Medical Center before O’Connell is taken to jail.
A police report says O’Connell was arrested at a Walmart store in Pompano Beach on January first after trying to engage in a fight with loss prevention employes and after throwing a punch at an employee.
The report says O’Connell tensed up and tried to pull away when he met the officer and force had to be used to bring him to the ground.
On the body cam video, you hear a profanity-laced argument between O’Connell and Sobrino. O’Connell points his arms at the deputy and starts shouting, “I want to sign off. I want to sign off.”
They continue to argue. Then Sobrino is seen moving towards O’Connell and striking him.
O’Connell yells out, “I’m not touching you. I’m not touching you.”
His free arm is put behind his back as he begs Sobrino to stop.
Watch The Body Cam Footage Below:READ MORE: Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis Finishes Chemotherapy For Breast Cancer
In the report, Sobrino claims O’Connell pushes him first and he believes he had to strike the suspect but the video does not appear to show Sobrino being pushed.
Weeks said, “When an officer abuses his authority immediate action must be taken and when an officer manufactures facts in order to substantiate facts we need to take a look at this to make sure that he is not out there policing the community and making arrests.”
“This needs to be investigated by the State Attorney’s Office for excessive use of force,” said Weeks. He said the officer’s false claims against O’Connell should also be investigated.
Initially, O’Connell was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer but Weeks said that charge was dismissed.
He was also initially charged with disorderly conduct but Weeks said that was never filed.
O’Connell was also charged with a misdemeanor of resisting arrest without violence.
That charge stuck but Weeks said adjudication was withheld.
A check of records shows that O’Connell was charged in the past with possessing a gun illegally and possessing heroin and cocaine, as well as domestic battery and counterfeiting.
CBS4 reached out to the Broward Sheriff Office and received a response from Veda Coleman-Wright, the Director of the BSO Public Information Office.MORE NEWS: Miami Woman Accused Of Operating 4 Massage Parlors As Fronts For Prostitution
She said, “Our Division of Internal Affairs immediately opened a preliminary investigation after receiving a letter today from the Office of the Public Defender lodging a complaint about use of force during an arrest incident that occurred back on January 1, 2019.”