Watch a Collier County Deputy Cold-Cock a Suspect Who Had Already Surrendered

The punch, in Freeze Frame

The punch, in Freeze Frame

22-year old Mateo Falconi gave it up. After leading police on an extremely high-speed chase for six miles, Falconi came to a dead-end and decided to surrender, as evidenced by the fact that he stopped, got off his bike, and raised his hands. At that point, Deputy Robert Lewis jumped out of his patrol car, gun drawn, ran up to Falconi, and took him down with a vicious punch with his closed right fist. Lewis jumped on Falconi and roughed him up pretty good while trying to subdue him. Deputy Lewis says Falconi refused to give up his hands, although Falconi jumped on him, and he and another deputy punched him repeatedly before tasering him into submission. At no point does Falconi threaten or otherwise offer to do violence. Watch the story, and the full video on NBC-2.com.

Now, Falconi obviously is in a lot of trouble for high-speed fleeing, which he probably did because he was carrying a big bag of weed in his backpack. He earned himself a couple of felony charges for those offenses. However, the behavior of the cop certainly bears the hallmarks of excessiveness. Nobody is going to begrudge law enforcement officers the right to use force to defend themselves, but I have doubts over the propriety of force when a suspect offers himself in non-violent surrender. This is bad policy for law enforcement, as it discourages suspects from peacefully surrendering. If you’re going to give up and put your hands up, but still get beat… why would anyone put their hands up? What else could Falconi have done to give himself up?

NBC-2 got their hands on the police report, which is worth a read. It’s a textbook example of how a cop changes a story to justify what he did. First, he makes reference to Falconi possibly fleeing on foot. That’s misleading because Falconi immediately turned to face the officer and raised his arms. He could not have done that any better, because if he had stayed on the bike, there was the risk that he would have restarted it. The officer claims he then instructed Falconi to get on the ground. The video shows that he first tells Falconi to put his hands up. Falconi can’t win! He did exactly what the cop told him to do. The video shows that Lewis actually did tell him to get on the ground, but never gave him a chance to do it. Lewis claims to have struck Falconi in the chest, pushing him to the ground, but it sure looks like he straight cracks Falconi in the jaw. It is clear on the video that Falconi had completely given himself up, both before being taken down, then again on the ground when Lewis had the gun to his head. The cops created the situation where Falconi didn’t cooperate, or was unable to cooperate, by their actions after he surrender. This is a textbook example of what not to do… just terrible, terrible police work.

Falconi is suing the Collier County Sheriff’s Department for excessive force. He is still facing the possiblity of many years in prison for high-speed fleeing, and felony possession of marijuana. He may not end up being the only person in this incident facing charges.

http://www.nbc-2.com/story/21110201/man-claims-he-was-beaten-by-collier-deputies

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3 responses to “Watch a Collier County Deputy Cold-Cock a Suspect Who Had Already Surrendered

  1. First, their actions overshadow the wrong doing of Falconi so that all people hear is abuse of power. Second, it makes it less likely that the next time someone does something like this, someone will he afraid to pull over and result in an accident, they may try to fight or pull a weapon. Things like this always lead to bad results for everyone. Falconi shouldn’t have ran, but the arresting officer o.ly hurt himself and future officers in a similar situation.

  2. Pingback: Lee Sheriff’s Office is Being Sued for Unnecessary Tasering of Innocent Woman | crimcourts : A Criminal Law Blog

  3. For all those that would like to contact the Sheriff’s department to show your extreme disdain for how the officers treated this American citizen who is innocent until proven guilty in court…. 

    Here’s the Sheriff’s email: sheriff@colliersheriff.net 

    For the Professional Responsibility Bureau: prb@colliersheriff.net 

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