DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A Volusia County man has filed a federal lawsuit against the Daytona Beach Police Department.
The lawsuit alleges the man was wrongfully arrested and officers used excessive force.
The police department has cleared the officers involved of any wrongdoing.
Video of the incident was caught on camera. It shows three Daytona Beach Police officers wrestling 24-year-old Jomardrick Wilcox to the floor inside a Daytona Beach pizza shop.
In the middle of the video, one officer sits on Wilcox’s back and handcuffs him, while another places a taser on the back of his head.
You can hear Wilcox yelling, “You can’t arrest me,” multiple times.
“I thought it was a pistol,” Wilcox said. “All I know is there is a weapon to my head, and at any moment, if he felt like it, there goes my life,” Wilcox said.
It was a crowded Saturday night on Daytona Beach in June of 2019.
As the bars closed, police started trying to get the crowd to disperse.
Wilcox and a couple of his friends were among many waiting to get into a pizza shop.
Officer Jerome Hassell asked them to leave, according to Wilcox.
“I told the officer we’re paying customers,” Wilcox said. “You know, it’s not like we’re just loitering around here,” he said.
Hassell checked with the manager/owner of the business who stated Wilcox and his friends could stay, according to the arrest report.
As Hassell was about to leave, Wilcox began to use profanity, according to the report.
The video starts when Officer Hassell approaches Wilcox again asking what he said.
“What did you say?” Hassell is heard asking on camera. “I said you all should get the (expletive) out of here,” Wilcox can be heard saying.
That’s when Hassell tries to grab Wilcox by the wrists.
Wilcox is again heard saying, “You can’t arrest me.”
Two other officers join in and appear to try to wrestle Wilcox to the floor.
Wilcox was arrested that night for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Months later a judge dismissed both charges.
“The defendant’s words were rude and offensive but are constitutionally protected
free speech,” the judge wrote in his order dismissing the charges.
Mike Scudiero is the Executive Director of the Coastal Florida Police Benevolent Association.
He represented the officers involved in the case in the internal affair’s investigation.
The officer arrested Wilcox, not because Wilcox cursed at the officer, but because the officer believed Wilcox’s language could have incited a riot,” Scudiero said.
He also points out the Daytona Beach Police Department exonerated the officer.
“Based on the outcome of the internal investigation, he was found to have acted within policy,” Scudiero said.
“I don’t think it’s excessive at all,” Scudiero said.
“Had, he [Wilcox] just cooperated when he was told to put his hands behind his back, they don’t go to the ground,” he said.
Wilcox says the lawsuit is about justice.
“I’m ready to see true justice,” Wilcox said. “I’m ready to see the justice system not fail,” he said.
The lawsuit alleges Wilcox was wrongfully arrested and that he was assaulted and battered by the officers.
Two days ago attorneys for the City of Daytona Beach asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit. The judge has not ruled on that motion.