Pembroke Pines recently settled a lawsuit for $75,000 that accused one of its police officers of making a false arrest and using excessive force when trying to detain a city resident at Home Depot.
The plaintiff was Raymond Russo, a former Miami Police Department sergeant. He worked with the Miami department for 23 years and before that was with the New York City Police Department.
According to the lawsuit and a transcript of Russo's trial, here's what happened on April 20, 2003:
Goulding responded to a call at the Home Depot at 12800 Pines Blvd., where Russo was a manager. Russo had sighted a child's knapsack underneath a stack of wooden pallets near a gate in the garden department.
Russo, who feared the knapsack belonged to a lost or missing child, asked an employee to call police. As Russo led Goulding to the knapsack, Russo experienced a "tic," an involuntary movement in which his heads snaps from side to side.
Goulding testified that Russo was having "some sort of problem" and became belligerent with him and cursed at him.
Russo attempted to explain to Goulding that he was suffering from the tic, but Goulding maintained he was being belligerent. He said he asked Russo to pick up the knapsack, but he refused.
Goulding arrested Russo on a disorderly conduct charge. Goulding said that while attempting to arrest him, Russo resisted, so he sprayed him in the face with Mace.
Robert Audas, a Home Depot employee, testified that Russo did not curse at Goulding and that Goulding used Mace on Russo two or three times.
When placing Russo in a patrol car, the suit alleged that Goulding pushed Russo's head against the vehicle, knocking his glasses off.