It was a situation where an officer could have used deadly force, but didn’t.
In his first year as a sworn officer, Colt Black was on duty and was conducting a simple traffic stop, or so he thought.
Black was trying to pull over a man on a bike near SR 60 and 12th Street in Lake Wales.
It was dark outside, around 10 p.m. on Monday night, and the rider didn’t have any lights that worked on the bicycle.
What was supposed to be a routine traffic stop, turned into a life or death situation.
According to Officer Black, the suspect, Marcelino Jimenez-Cruz first stopped then took off.
Soon after, Jimenez-Cruz turned to combat, jumped the officer and began beating him.
The suspect allegedly took everything off the officer’s belt besides his handcuffs and handgun.
The officer had no way of radioing for help and couldn’t defend himself because his baton had been taken.
“He’s got a laceration on the side of his cheek and on the bridge of his nose. He’s got a bite mark on his forearm, he’s got a bite mark on his right thigh, swelling on the right ear,” Deputy Chief Troy Schulze said. Despite his injuries Black is in good spirits.
Luckily, someone who was nearby saw what was happening and called 911.
Backup arrived and was able to deploy a Taser on Marcelino Jimenez-Cruz.
Arresting officers realized Marcelino Jimenez-Cruz had been out on felony probation for attacking an officer last spring. He’s also an illegal immigrant and is being held on an ICE detainer.
“It became a matter of life and death situation. Officer Black even said he considered deadly force and he was getting to that point when the officers pulled up that he was saying to them, shoot him shoot him,” Schulze said.
When Officer Black first arrived at Lakeland Regional Health for evaluation, his brothers in blue feared a skull fracture and a broken jaw. After scans, health professionals said he had only suffered a concussion.
Jimenez-Cruz will be facing second degree murder and battery charges against a law enforcement officer as well. He’s also being held for ICE.
When Jimenez-Cruz was previously arrested in 2017, a box on the arrest form was reportedly erroneously marked that he was a U.S. citizen, so his name was not sent to ICE at that time.
The Sheriff's Office says it sincerely regrets the error.
Officer Black will likely be able to go home Tuesday evening.