Lakeland, Florida -- He was beaten almost beyond recognition by two Lakeland Police officers and now he has filed a federal civil rights claim against the officers, the City of Lakeland, and the current and former police chief.
The man filling the suits, Joe Florence, blames a young police officer who he says didn't have enough training for losing his cool and repeatedly striking him in the face.
Florence says, "The officer got in my face very quick ... he was aggressive."
That's how Joe Florence says the beating started.
It happenedtwo years ago asLakeland Police officers were serving a trespass warrant. After receiving the trespass warning -- because he had mowed and watered his neighbor's lawn -- Florence started to go inside his home.
Florence remembers, "and I put my hand on the door knob and that's when the officer, the male officer, I don't know who he is, went off on me. "
Florence says during the beating, which was photographed by his wife, officers Heather Freeman and Nicholas Ivancevic tasered him and smashed his face into the concrete sidewalk.
Florence believes Officer Ivancevic didn't like the fact that he was walking back into the house after receiving the trespassing warrant.
According to Florence, "He said, 'you come here'."
However, the police department contends Florencerefused to calm down and then the officers went to place him under arrest for resisting.
While the state attorney refused to press charges, a police investigation found the officers did nothing wrong. However, Florence's Attorney Robert McKee says once the trespass warrant was served, the officers had no more business with Florence.
"They had no right to restrain him, no right to require him to stay in that position, and certainly no right to beat him...because if you are affecting an illegal arrest, no amount of force can be used."
Joseph Florence and his entire legal team agree that the lawsuit being filed in federal court is more than just toward a police officer, but it is an indictment of theLakeland police chief and the entire department.
"You're disappointed, but I was probablymore disappointed by the police chief and the city attorney not taking any action,"Florence says.
Late Friday, Lakeland Police responded to our inquiry regarding the lawsuit by sayingin part: "This incident was reviewed by the chain of command of the Lakeland Police Department at the time it occurred. The officers were found to have acted within policies and law."
In the meantime, usually because of what is called "Sovereign Immunity", it's hard to collect more than $100,000 from a city.
However, because this is a Federal Civil Right Suit, damages can be unlimited.
Follow 10 News Reporter Mike Deeson on twitter @MikeDeeson