Broward News

BSO Deputy Who Broke Man's Face and Lied About It Turns Himself In

Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy Justin Lambert punched David Gonzalez and threw him to the ground so hard, it broke the man's orbital bone. Gonzalez never lifted a hand or became threatening toward Lambert or his partner, Mike Manresa, though both officers said otherwise in their reports. 

A nearby surveillance camera captured Lambert striking Gonzalez and then handcuffing him while he was unconscious. Manresa kicked Gonzalez and searched his pockets while Lambert stood over him. Gonzalez was then arrested on two counts of resisting arrest without violence.

Gonzalez's booking photo showed a gruesome shiner covering his left eye and a cut that required stitches. Both Lambert and Manresa were investigated and suspended with pay when it was revealed that they had lied in their arrest report. 

On Monday, Lambert turned himself in at the BSO jail after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

The incident went down on February 18, 2014, at a Texaco gas station on North Dixie Highway in Deerfield Beach. According to the gas-station clerk working that night, Gonzalez, 50, walked into the gas station clearly intoxicated.

He began asking for free beer and then began taking candy and liquor from the store. He drunkenly yelled at the clerk before walking out. The clerk then called BSO.

When deputies arrived, they found Gonzalez and immediately noticed he was drunk.

According to the arrest report, the officers wrote, "I smelled a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on Gonzalez' breath. He also had bloodshot, glassy eyes and slurred speech."

The report also says that Gonzalez became belligerent toward the deputies, yelling and cursing at them. Gonzalez also walked up to them as he was shouting, according to the report.

"We then escorted Gonzalez to the ground," it says.

The deputies claim that Gonzalez raised a hand at one of them, but the surveillance footage that captured the incident never shows that.

The video does show Lambert striking Gonzalez as the man leans in toward the officer.

According to court documents, Lambert stood within inches of Gonzalez's face and "menacingly confronted' him "without justification and remained within inches of Gonzalez's face for almost ten seconds.”

Gonzalez was then knocked into a wall and then handcuffed. Lambert struck Gonzalez again and grabbed him by the neck. Both officers then slammed Gonzalez to the ground, where he was knocked out.

According to the documents, the officers called paramedics and propped up Gonzalez as they waited. 

While examined at the North Broward Medical Center’s ER, it was found that Gonzalez had suffered broken bones on the left side of this face, including his orbital bone. He also had various neck and back injuries.

Yet Gonzalez was never charged with theft.

This is not the first time Lambert has been involved in a false-arrest and battery incident.

In 2009, Lambert tasered and beat 50-year-old Jorge Rodriguez in front of his wife and kids, then arrested him for resisting arrest. Lambert also arrested the wife for disorderly conduct.

The Rodriguezes sued, and a jury awarded them $350,000 in damages

On Monday, Lambert was released on bail and is awaiting trial.

Gonzalez, meanwhile, released a statement via his attorney saying he's "glad that justice won’t be a double standard for incidents such as this. We will let justice take its course.”

Gonzalez v BSO by Chris Joseph

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph