WATCH: Kissimmee Man Sues Orlando Police Officer Alleging Excessive Force

Oct 30 2015

19-year-old Kissimmee man has filed suit against the city of Orlando and one of its bicycle cops, accusing the officer of excessive force for kneeing him in the stomach several times and hitting him during a July 5 arrest.

Ryan Richard Diaz also accuses the officer, Michael Napolitano, of violating his First Amendment rights, alleging that the officer tried to grab a cell phone he was using to video-record what was happening.

Diaz was arrested after he and two friends huddled near a parking garage on Jefferson Street in downtown Orlando, trying to get out of the rain, said his attorney, J. Marc Jones.

Someone called police, saying the three were smoking marijuana and trespassing, according to an arrest report, and Napolitano responded.

When the officer arrived, according to the suit, he was very aggressive, and Ryan’s friend, Mario Manzi, began to video-record what happened.

Napolitano tried to stop that, the suit alleges, but the three passed the phone around and kept recording.

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Napolitano then kneed Diaz three times in the mid-section and knocked him to the ground, where the officer hit Diaz several times in the legs and head, the suit alleges.

Diaz was arrested, accused of battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest without violence.

Prosecutors dropped the battery charge, but two weeks ago a jury convicted Diaz of resisting arrest, and Orange County Judge Maureen Bell sentenced him to a year of probation.

“This kid is 5-6, 130 pounds, and his only crime is being at the wrong place at the wrong time and trying to video-record a police officer,” said Jones.

Orlando police Cpl. Joseph Catanzaro reviewed video of what happened, talked to Diaz and his friends and concluded that Napolitano’s use of force was justified.

Napolitano was alone, initially, and was trying to separate and detain the suspects, but they kept moving, Napolitano wrote in his arrest report.

On the video, either Diaz or Manzi can be heard telling Napolitano he cannot take away their cell phone, which is being used to record what’s happening.

Napolitano answers, “You don’t understand how this works. When you are detained, you do not run the show.”

“You cannot grab my camera,” one of the men then says.

Napolitano’s answer, “Yes, I can.”

Officers searched but found no marijuana on the suspects or at the scene, Jones said.

The suit, filed Thursday in Orlando federal court, accuses the city of failing to train officers that citizens have a right to video-record them on the job.


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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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