Two Broward Sheriff's deputies were charged with misdemeanor offenses Thursday after they were caught on camera striking and throwing a robbery suspect to the ground last year at a Deerfield Beach gas station.
The video showed a man being punched, then slammed to the ground by deputies Mike Manresa and Justin Lambert. The take-down was deemed excessive force by their boss, Broward Sheriff Scott Israel.
"Unfortunately from time to time you have these incidents and we don't do everything right, and we make mistakes," Sheriff Israel.
The victim, David Gonzalez, ended up with a a broken eye socket and broken facial bones.
His wife told us he is still undergoing medical treatments as a result of the attack.
"He is in a lot of pain, his back... and his face, he hasn't been able to get the operation yet," she said.
Gonzalez's lawyers are stunned that only misdemeanor charges were filed against the deputies.
"If you or I engaged in the conduct these officers engaged in, I can tell you with 100% certainty, having done this for a while, that these would absolutely be charged as a felony, felony battery, aggravated battery take your pick," said attorney Mike Glasser.
It was February of last year, at a Texaco gas station in Deerfield Beach, that the two deputies approached Gonzalez. One wrote in his report that Gonzalez raised his hand at the deputy and lunged at him.
Deputy Manresa wrote that he, "...attempted to secure the defendant in handcuffs, but Gonzalez resisted by bracing his body and pulling his hands away from our grasps."
But, the video does not show that. It does, though, appear that deputy Lambert punched Gonzalez in the face, then they both threw him head-first to the ground.
Lambert was charged with battery, and both deputies were charged with falsifying police reports.
Both deputies have been suspended with pay. "The vast majority of officers are trying to do the best they can but we cannot stand as a society for this kind of conduct," said Glasser.
The deputies will either strike a plea deal with prosecutors or they will go to trial. After that, an internal affairs investigation will be launched and the Sheriff will have the final say as to whether they keep their jobs or not.