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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

An Alachua County Sheriff’s deputy may soon face a battery charge for using unnecessary force during an arrest last month, the sheriff’s office announced Tuesday.

During the incident, which occurred Sept. 29, Deputy Dominic Bevilacqua forced a man to the ground, hit him and twice used his Taser, according to an arrest report.

The man had been reportedly sitting in a ditch with his dog in the 14400 block of NE State Road 26 when Bevilacqua arrived, responding to a resident’s call, according to the report.

Video footage of the ensuing arrest — which left the man bloodied — was recorded on the deputy’s dashboard camera.

On Sept. 30, the day after the arrest, Sheriff Sadie Darnell placed Bevilacqua on paid administrative suspension pending the outcome of the criminal investigation and the internal investigation by the Office of Professional Standards at the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office filed a sworn complaint Tuesday with the State Attorney’s office recommending the charge be filed, said sheriff’s office spokesman Art Forgey. An internal investigation will begin once the state attorney decides whether to file the charge.

“What we saw from witnesses and the camera is that the actions of Deputy Bevilacqua were justified up until the point where it reached a line,” Forgey said. “We felt he assaulted the victim instead of doing his normal police business.”

Prior to the arrest, when Bevilacqua arrived at the area, the man spoke to him and asked if the deputy wanted to see his ID before walking away. Bevilacqua then reached for the man’s arm to move him away from the road, according to the report. The man resisted, and Bevilacqua forced him to the ground before hitting him in his arm and shoulder.

Unable to get the man’s hands from underneath his torso, Bevilacqua then used his Taser twice on the man. After the first shock, he appears to scream, “Oh, godd---.”

“Put your hands behind your back, or you’re going to get Tased again,” Bevilacqua responds.

The man was later taken to hospital with injuries to his face and back, Forgey said.

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