Back in April 2010, Palm Beach Sheriff's Office Deputy Ramesh Nandlal fatally shot 44-year-old Richard Montero after the officer and his partner got into a scuffle with an inebriated Montero. Montero was unarmed when he was shot.
A little more than a year later, Nandlal and his partner, Victor Blackman, were both cleared by PBSO's internal affairs office. At the time, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said the officers were "fighting for their lives" when they encountered Montero in the early-morning hours of April 9, 2010.
But on Monday morning, attorney Adam Balkan told a federal jury that Montero was lying on his back when he was shot four times on the side of the road at Summit Boulevard and Jog Road in West Palm Beach.
According to a New Times report in 2010, the PBSO deputies had spotted Montero passed out inside his Ford Explorer as the vehicle idled at a traffic light. But what was to be a routine DUI arrest soon turned physical — and deadly. Nandlal's attorney said Monday that the officers intended on having the Ford Explorer towed. This incensed Montero, who became physical and began fighting the two deputies.
The officers were pushed and attacked by Montero, the attorney said. They apparently tasered him, but that didn't seem to work.
According to the internal affairs report, one witness who was driving by claimed to have heard Montero threatening to kill the officers.
"Mr. Montero made no effect to cooperate as he repeatedly struck and pushed both deputies to the ground, placing the deputies in a position of disadvantage, fatigue, and fear for their lives," the internal affairs office report said.
The report went on to say that Montero made a grab for one of the officers' belts. He was then shot four times. Montero later died at Delray Community Hospital.
At the time of the shooting, the PBSO released a statement that read:
"This is just another example an extremely violent individual that has tried to overpower two of our deputies. And that's why they had to use the amount of force that they used. They did everything that they could with the tasers, that didn't have any effect on him at all. And, at a certain point in time they just, you know, were basically out of gas and realized that this guy could get the best of them, get their weapons and kill both of them."
But Balkan, who is seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars for Montero's family, argued that Montero was never warned before being shot.
Attorney Summer Barranco claimed in court that Nandlal had no choice but to fire his gun, fearing for his and his partner's life.