Two retired Marines are suing the St. Petersburg Police Department (SPPD) to obtain public records regarding their arrest from earlier this year.
Clinton Walker and Robert Ramirez filed the complaint after they were denied access to records related to an arrest after a fight during First Friday in downtown St. Petersburg.
On May 7, 2016, Walker and Ramirez headed out to celebrate First Friday. The two were at Del Mar Gastro Lounge when a fight broke out near the restrooms. Several SPPD officers investigated the incident.
Walker and Ramirez were questioned, but neither was identified as the perpetrator.
Police tasered Walker four times for allegedly battering Ruben DeJesus, an ex-SPPD officer, and for not following orders from the police. After being tasered, Walker was then ordered to lay on his stomach; he complied.
DeJesus kicked Walker in the groin, he claims.
At that point, DeJesus instructed officers arrest Ramirez. While handcuffed, DeJesus grabbed Ramirez “by his face and shook him vigorously” the suit says.
In June 2016, charges were dropped against both Walker and Ramirez. Just four days after, their attorneys requested SPPD provide a complete copy of the report and any other accounts in connection to the detention. They also asked for a copy of the use-of-force form filed upon Walker’s arrest.
Although SPPD responded to the request, the agency claimed the report could not be released because it was a part of an ongoing case.
The official charge against Walker was Battery of a Law Enforcement Officer, while Ramirez was arrested for Obstructing or Resisting an Officer Without Violence.
Video footage from the night tells a different story.
The video shows DeJesus committing unlawful acts towards both men. Security footage from the incident can be found in a Tampa Bay Times article describing the event.
In September 2016, DeJesus resigned just before the disciplinary board regarding May’s incident.
In 2011, DeJesus fatally shot an 18-year-old boy. While he was cleared of all wrongdoing, the boy’s mother is continuing a suit for wrongful death.
Court documents suggest Walker and Ramierez, both former Marines, work for Hillsborough County Fire Department. The two men have yet to file a negligence suit.
Del Mar Gastro Lounge is at 234 Central Ave in St. Petersburg.