EXCESSIVE FORCE

Overzealous FL Deputies Taze One Gay Bar Patron, Slam Another’s Head Into Pavement

Robert Ortiz (right) walks with a cane and can’t speak without his hand pressed to his throat because of a tracheotomy. But on January 9, two Fort Myers, FL, deputies thought they heard gunshots coming from his direction so they ordered him to get on his hands and knees. And when he didn’t—because he was physically unable—they tazed him. “I felt like trash when he did that to me,” he said. “It was so wrong.”

According to Fox 4 News, Ortiz was one of six other patrons standing outside a gay bar, The Office Pub, who was told to drop to the ground by the cops. Only, it turns out those “gunshots” they heard were actually just Bill Broccio, one of the gay bar patrons, slamming his car door three times because he was upset. Broccio claims one of the two deputies slammed his head into the concrete three times. Hospital records show he had to be treated for injuries and given pain medication that night.

Warren Miller, who owns the Office Pub, says, “They were charging at us with their guns drawn and flashlights on us and said, ‘Get on your knees,’ and we didn’t move to get on our knees right away, so then they said, ‘Get on your knees or we will shoot you!’ “

A bar patron who witnessed the event told Fox 4, “We don’t need to be treated like that. I don’t care who you are in this community you don’t need to be treated like that at all.”

A spokesman said the Lee County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the matter further and that “we’ll hold our people accountable if they’ve done something wrong.”

Why does that not fill us with confidence?