Federal lawsuit alleges Monroe deputies used excessive force in Tasering of 20-year-old after crash
A South Florida man has filed a federal lawsuit against the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, alleging deputies used excessive force when they repeatedly deployed Tasers on a 20-year-old man in the aftermath of a 2022 crash.
In addition to MCSO, the lawsuit also names Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay and the three deputies involved in the July 3, 2022, incident that, Jordan Rivero said, changed his life forever.
The incident unfolded as captured by body camera video, showing Rivero being removed from a mangled vehicle following a crash on the Florida Turnpike.
Riding home from a fishing trip in the Florida Keys, the truck that Rivero was riding in collided with a concrete pole, leading to a chaotic scene.
Rivero shared his account of the incident with 7News on Friday.
“As we were going to leave, they were going to fish another bridge on the way home, but I was pretty much tired, so I went in the truck to get some rest, and that’s all I remember from that point,” he said.
Emergency officials arrived at the scene, removed Rivero from the truck and directed him to a backboard on the street.
Rivero began to wander. Disoriented and in shock from the crash, he struggled to breathe through a broken nose.
Rivero said he found himself surrounded by deputies.
The bodycam video shows deputies telling Rivero to relax and breathe through his mouth, as he struggled to stay seated.
“Why are you not sitting?” one deputy is heard saying.
When Rivero got up again, a deputy shocked him with a Taser, which caused him to grab his chest and hit his head on the ground.
After he received medical attention and was shocked with a Taser, Rivero said, he suffered a seizure.
“I woke up in the hospital from a coma. I still go through back pain, headaches, all types of stuff 24/7,” he said.
Rivero’s attorney, Dena Forman, also spoke with 7News.
“The reason that a Taser is used, in general, is to subdue someone who is dangerous or violent when they’re trying to apprehend someone who is avoiding arrest. Jordan was neither of those things,” she said.
The lawsuit states, “At no point was Mr. Rivero suspected of a crime or in custody; he was an adolescent victim of a horrific car accident while on an early morning fishing trip.”
The lawsuit claims that the use of the Taser was “extreme, unnecessary, and unreasonable, given that Mr. Rivero appeared to be confined to the location of the shoulder of the road, blocked from traffic by fire engines, emergency services units, and police vehicles.”
Rivero said deputies deployed a Taser on him four times within one minute.
“I don’t know why anyone should be treated like that, from going through such a tragic incident,” he said.
The 20-year-old reflected on what could have been. Before the crash, he said, he was a cadet in high school and was preparing to take the exam to become a firefighter in Palm Beach County, just like his father.
“I’ve always looked up to him. I did everything right: I did cadets for four years, did [emergency medical technician] school, and this just threw a curveball at me. Now I can’t do any of that,” he said. “This was something I was looking forward to, and it was my dream job. Now I feel like it was taken away from me.”
Rivero and his attorney are requesting a jury trial. As of Friday night, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office has not responded to 7News’ requests for comment.