Man sues police after being shot by a Florida police officer who used a firearm instead of a taser

Michael Ortiz

() — A man who was left paralyzed after being shot by a police officer in Hollywood, Florida, who mistook his own weapon for a Taser, has filed a federal lawsuit, court records show.

On July 3, 2021, police shot Michael Ortiz in the back while he was on the ground naked and handcuffed, according to the complaint filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Ortiz had called 911 from his mother’s house after experiencing a “mental health emergency and chest pains,” according to the complaint. When emergency personnel arrived, Ortiz had showered and was speaking incoherently, and was placed on the floor where he was “helplessly flailing his arms and legs around,” the complaint states.

Ortiz was electrocuted by a police officer and became alarmed after “regaining consciousness,” and was still under the influence of the mental health crisis when a second officer put a gun to Ortiz’s back and shot him, according to the complaint. .

The police officer erred and fired a firearm instead of a Taser, the Hollywood Police Department said in a statement.

“An initial review suggests that the officer intended to deploy his Taser, but instead discharged his firearm,” the statement said.

Ortiz is now paralyzed and requires 24-hour care, the complaint alleges.

Last September, the officer who discharged his weapon was charged with a crime “involving the shooting of a man who was seriously injured,” Broward State Attorney Harold F. Pryor announced.

The officer “is charged with one count of culpable negligence, inflicting actual personal injury, a first degree misdemeanor,” according to the statement.

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump filed the federal lawsuit on Ortiz’s behalf.

“We are seeking greater justice for Michael Ortiz,” Crump said, along with other attorneys at a news conference Wednesday.

Co-counsel Hunter Shkolnik spoke about a video that he says shows a “police officer coming down from an elevator, taking his gun out of his pocket, and this is in slow motion, pulling the gun out, putting it directly on Michael’s back when he is lying on the ground, naked and handcuffed behind his back.”

That video has not been released by order of a misdemeanor court judge, lawyers say.

The complaint, filed Tuesday against the City of Hollywood, the Hollywood Police Department, the Hollywood Fire and Beach Safety Department and others, seeks compensation and a jury trial.

According to Shkolnik, Ortiz owes $3 million in medical bills “to date.”

has reached out to the city of Hollywood and its police and fire departments for comment.

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Written by Editor TLN

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