Surveillance video of Parkland, Florida school shooter, Nikolas Cruz was released this week that allegedly shows him violently lunging at an officer in Broward County Jail on November 13, 2018, about nine months after he committed the horrific Parkland shooting massacre that left 17 dead and 17 wounded.
The video was released Wednesday as part of his first in-person court appearance since the coronavirus pandemic began. In it, Cruz can be seen erratically pacing circles around empty cafeteria tables.
Eventually, Cruz stops pacing and approaches the guard, who was identified as Sgt. Raymond Beltran, according to CBS Miami, as he monitors Cruz from his station in the corner of the room. Cruz points at Beltran, then gives him the finger. While the clip has no audio, his body language indicates that whatever he said to Beltran, he was upset about.
The footage shows Cruz then lunging at the officer and wrestling him to the ground while trying to throw punches at Beltran’s head.
Beltran eventually regains control of the situation after landing a punch on Cruz and pulling out his stun gun. The video shows Cruz retreat to the other side of the room where he lies facedown on the floor.
Defense attorney David Wheeler argued to Circuit Judge Elizabeth Sherer on Wednesday that officer Beltran had previously mistreated Cruz, who was allegedly reacting to the abuse in the footage.
The 30-minute hearing addressed battery and assault charges stemming from the prison incident. Cruz reportedly remained silent during the hearing while sitting, shackled in his orange jumpsuit. He will be tried separately from the first-degree murder charges he faces.
Wednesday’s hearing served for the judge to determine whether or not prosecutors could have access to Cruz’s medical records in order to determine whether or not he really had been abused.
Prosecutor Maria Schneider argued that the prosecutorial team should have access to Cruz’s medical records from the time he arrived in jail onward because any alleged abuse at the hands of Beltran would be documented.
Wheeler argued that Cruz’s medical records are protected by the law and prosecutors should only be allowed to see records within a day of the fight.
Judge Scherer said she would rule on the prosecution’s request by Friday.
A trial date for the murder charges following Cruz’s Feb. 14, 2018 shooting rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland has not been set. Scherer said the trial could come as soon as this September. Cruz’s attorneys tried for a plea deal that would afford Cruz a sentence of life in prison, but prosecutors denied it. If Cruz is convicted, he could face the death penalty.
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