A Florida woman has filed a lawsuit against the Fort Lauderdale police department after she says they arrested her on false charges and beat her while she was in custody just days after she testified against one of their own in court.
26- year-old Jessica Mooney says she and her then fiance were waiting for a bus in 2015, when they witnessed an officer identified as Victor Ramirez brutalizing a homeless man. Mooney’s fiance began filming the incident on a cellphone camera which was later presented in court.
Officer Ramirez, who is said to have a long history of excessive force, was charged with misdemeanor battery and arrested the following year, however, he found not guilty despite the evidence and Mooney’s testimony.
Mooney told reporters that just eight days after the trial, she was arrested while waiting for a ride outside of a restaurant she’d just finished eating at with her then 5-month-old. Mooney says she was told she was being arrested for not paying her $63.57 bill though she had a receipt saying she did.
She was then charged with child neglect after giving her child to a stranger as police approached her. Those charges were later dropped.
Once Mooney was taken to the police station, she confronted officers about the false arrest and asked for the name and badge ID number for her arresting officer. Mooney says the officer identified as Amanda Moreno had her hair covering her badge so she tried to use one finger to move it to see the number, that’s when she was thrown on the ground and assaulted by multiple officers.
Mooney says the officer ‘smashed her face’ on a fingerprinting machine while the other officers kicked and beat her.
‘I don’t know whether I lost consciousness or my body went into shock. I believe I had a footprint on my rib cage and cuts everywhere inside my mouth from just being brutalized,’ Mooney told ABC10.
Officers claimed that Mooney was yelling obscenities and took a swing at the officer, however, video evidence discredited their account.
Mooney remained at the Broward County jail for two days until she was transported to the Broward Health Medical Center’s emergency room for ‘head trauma.’
Video of the incident was not ever released to the public because the office of state attorney general Pam Bondi refused the request citing a state law that allows government surveillance footage to be kept from the public to prevent those systems from being ‘compromised’.
Mooney has, however, provided photos in the lawsuit showing the results of the incident.
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