Published: May 21, 2021
Florida authorities are hailing two civilians as heroes after the two jumped into action to assist a deputy who was under attack during a recent traffic stop.
What are the details?
Volusia County Sheriff’s Deputy Anthony Zimmerer pulled over a vehicle after it reportedly cut across all lanes of traffic earlier this week.
Bodycam footage captured the moment Zimmerer stopped the suspect, 41-year-old Frank Padilla Velez, and tried to speak with him.
During the stop, the suspect reportedly began acting out and resisted when the officer attempted to handcuff him. A struggle ensued, and Padilla ended up striking Zimmerer in the head with his elbow.
Two civilians noticed Zimmerer struggling with the suspect and jumped in to help. According to authorities, Zimmerer’s bodycam footage cut out at one point during the struggle, and during that time, Padilla reportedly attempted to bite the deputy’s leg.
At that point, the two Good Samaritans were able to subdue the subject. One of them sustained a gash to the forehead in the process.
A Facebook post from the sheriff’s office detailed the incident in full.
“We want to send out a big THANK YOU to the two outstanding citizens who stopped to help a deputy who was involved in a scuffle at a traffic stop in Deltona,” the post said. “Deputy Zimmerer was eastbound on Howland Boulevard yesterday afternoon when a black Ford F-150 cut across all lanes of traffic and almost hit him. Zimmerer conducted a traffic stop on the driver, Frank Padilla Velez (DOB 5/17/1980), whose behavior was erratic.”
“When Zimmerer attempted to place handcuffs on him, Padilla hit Zimmerer in the head with his elbow, knocking the handcuffs into the middle of the road, and started fighting him,” the post continued. “Two witnesses saw what was happening and jumped out of their vehicles to help. Padilla thrashed on the ground and tried to bite Zimmerer’s leg. A Taser had no effect on him. The struggle caused the deputy’s body camera’s main power button to switch off before more deputies got to the scene and helped take Padilla into custody.”
The post revealed that the suspect’s dog reportedly jumped out of the vehicle in order to protect its owner, but a witness was able to corral the dog and put it back into the truck.
“Padilla was charged with resisting an officer with violence, battery on a law enforcement officer, driving with a suspended license, careless driving, and expired registration,” the post added. “Sheriff Mike Chitwood announced that both men who stopped to intervene will be receiving citizen’s awards in recognition of their actions.”
In a statement on the incident, Chitwood said, “All my respect and gratitude goes out to these two men who took action when they saw a deputy under attack. It makes me proud to know that in Volusia County, our residents still have our deputies’ backs.'”