WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A West Palm Beach police officer is under arrest for aggravated battery after authorities said he used excessive force by punching a man up to 11 times and breaking his nose.
Nicholas Lordi was booked into the main Palm Beach County jail about 8 p.m. Tuesday and bonded out Wednesday morning.
According to an arrest report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Lordi and another officer responded to the Food Plus grocery store, located at 5501 Broadway, on Nov. 1, 2019, and made contact with John Monroque, 65, regarding a "trespassing incident."
Surveillance video from the store showed Lordi speaking with Monroque for roughly 90 seconds.
Lordi then wrapped his arms around Monroque's waist, moved him to a police cruiser outside the store, and "pushed" the victim's head onto the hood of the car, the arrest report stated.
A struggle ensued between the officers and victim as they tried to put handcuffs on him. Monroque "did not allow himself to be handcuffed," the report stated.
Investigators said Lordi then pulled the victim backward and they both fell to the ground. Lordi then put Monroque in a headlock and punched him in his head and face approximately six times.
During that time, Monroque did not hit Lordi back.
Lordi then rolled the victim onto his stomach, sat on top of him, then hit him approximately five more times in his head and face.
Investigators said Lordi eventually stopped hitting Monroque when an unidentified person stepped in and "blocked" Lordi from striking the man. The second West Palm Beach police officer then handcuffed Monroque.
The arrest report stated that approximately two minutes and 40 seconds later, as Monroque was laying on the ground, Lordi could be heard telling the victim to "stop spitting" and "stop your [EXPLETIVE], man, just stop."
Lordi then placed his right knee against the victim's head and held his head down for approximately 14 seconds.
Monroque was taken to St. Mary's Medical Center where doctors said he sustained a "closed fracture of [his] nasal bones."
The FDLE arrest report said Lordi provided a deposition in July 2020, saying he had responded to the food store for a report of a "suspect loitering" who was intoxicated and was refusing to leave the property.
Lordi said Monroque was "disrespectful" and was "fighting, pulling away, and not listening to commands."
According to the arrest report, Lordi said the victim tried to grab the second officer's gun magazine, and the "officers had had to use force." Lordi said that once the 65-year-old man was on the ground, he "[wouldn't] put his hands behind his back."
Lordi said that when he was on top of Monroque, he had delivered a few "softening strikes" to the man's face.
The FDLE said surveillance video evidence contradicted some of Lordi's statements.
In September 2021, Monroque told FDLE investigators that Lordi had "jumped on [his] back and punched [him] in the nose/face, breaking [his] nose." The victim added that Lordi had "slammed" his forehead onto the hood of the police car."
Monroque said "he had trouble remembering what happened after that, as he had become 'unconscious,'" the arrest report stated.
The FDLE said Lordi "used force in excess of what was necessary to mitigate the incident" and "intentionally or knowingly caused great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement" to the victim.
Lordi is now under arrest for aggravated battery, a second-degree felony.
WPTV contacted Michael Salnick, the attorney for Lordi. His office said there is no comment at this time.
"I feel good now. It's justice," Monroque told reporters at a news conference Wednesday afternoon, saying he forgives Lordi.
Monroque added that, more than two years after the incident, he suffers from headaches and has a "serious back problem."
"They did what they wanted to do," Monroque said. "I was shocked. That was awful. He jumped on my back and punched me in my face."
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The West Palm Beach Police Department released the following written statement to WPTV Wednesday about Lordi's arrest:
"A use of force investigation was initiated by the West Palm Beach Police Department immediately following the November 1, 2019 incident. The investigation was based on the evidence available at that time. When additional evidence was discovered, the West Palm Beach Police Department requested an outside investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The West Palm Beach Police Department is committed to accountability and transparancy for the citizens we are sworn to serve. Nicholas Lordi was placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of the court case, pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement."
The Fraternal Order of Police in West Palm Beach said Wednesday it's standing firmly behind Lordi, claiming his actions were completely justified.
"His actions were dictated by the actions of the person he was trying to arrest," said FOP President Adam Myers. "And what I mean by that is he tried to disarm one of the officers and grabbed his gun."
Myers added that while the video doesn't look appealing to the public, Lordi's actions were appropriate given the circumstances.
"In this case he actually used restraint," Myers said. "He still used force that was necessary to take this person into custody."
Great work FDLE Miami!— FDLE (@fdlepio) February 16, 2022
FDLE agents arrested Nicholas Lordi for one count of aggravated battery. Investigators found that Lordi used excessive force against the victim. He turned himself in last night and was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail. https://t.co/okoDcLT6Z6 pic.twitter.com/8n2Wcfr52t