COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.- A Collier County man wants justice for alleged police brutality.
After a high speed chase in October, Mateo Falconi says sheriff's deputies punched him and used a taser on him, while he begged not to be beaten.
This afternoon, Falconi announced a lawsuit against the Collier County Sheriff's Department. The press conference was held in Golden Gate at the home of president of the local chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens.
The arrest happened on October 18th in North Naples. Falconi wouldn't comment on what happened leading up to the chase. He also wouldn't talk about the three criminal charges he's facing after he avoided police, resisted arrested, and was found to have marijuana on him. But he believes the deputies acted out of line when they arrested him. He said he surrendered peacefully.
"The police officer cannot be police officer, judge and executioner, the police officer has to do his job, to detain the individual when the individual surrenders," said Falconi.
The arrest report states deputies thought Falconi might flee on foot and was not complying to their demands.
"Being electrocuted with a taser because I asked them to stop beating me up and then being hit continuously while being electrocuted, that's not okay," said Falconi.
The Collier County Sheriff's Office released the following statement about this case:
"We have been made aware of the potential for a lawsuit relating to this arrest. In addition, the criminal case is still pending. These two facts significantly limit our ability to comment.
To date, no member misconduct complaint has been filed in this case. However, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office will open a Professional Responsibility Bureau investigation to determine exactly what took place during the pursuit and arrest. Among the questions that will be resolved are whether Mr. Falconi was resisting being handcuffed at the time of the alleged excessive response to resistance and whether deputies on scene were following agency and state response to resistance guidelines while taking Mr. Falconi into custody.
In order to perform a complete review, many elements need to be reviewed, such as reports, videos, sworn statements and physical evidence. In addition, other questions must be answered, including why was the vehicle traveling at speeds reaching 110 mph and why was the driver attempting to elude deputies.
Law enforcement officers are permitted to respond to resistance, whether it be verbal, passive, active or aggressive, for the safety of the public, the officer and the subject."