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Man to sue Gulfport police over Tasing, beating

GULFPORT — A Pinellas County Circuit Court judge has criticized Gulfport police for mistreating a suspect who was Tased and beaten multiple times.

Judge Cynthia Newton called the treatment of Fred Bramich, 44, disgusting and horrible.

"This was a very bad case, the jury decided it was a very bad case," Newton said, according to a court transcript provided by Bramich's attorney.

A jury acquitted Bramich last month of charges that he violently resisted arrest and battered police.

Now Bramich plans to sue.

"This never should have happened, and I certainly don't want it to happen to anyone else," Bramich said Friday.

"It's scary that police can do something like this," said his attorney, Robert Tager.

Bramich's problems began in August 2007 when a neighbor called Gulfport police to issue a trespass warning to Bramich because of alleged threats.

A police report said Bramich walked away from during the investigation and they tried to arrest him in his driveway.

Police struck Bramich with batons and Tased him multiple times. Bramich ran to his mother's house nearby.

"He was screaming for them to stop, you're going to kill me," recalls his mother, Judith Jarosch.

Police followed Bramich onto Jarosch's screened porch and again struck him with batons and their Taser guns.

"My son kept calling for me, yelling 'Mother make them stop,' " said Jarosch.

Her husband, Alexander, was also struck with a baton and threatened with arrest.

"My son has never broken the law," said Jarosch. "He is a family man who lives with his 14-year-old son."

Bramich said the officers "jumped me like a pack of wolves" and when he heard one of them yell, "Shoot him, shoot him," he ran to his mother's house.

"I ran in fear of my life," he said. "My father is a retired police officer, and I never expected behavior like this. All they had to do was hand me the trespass notice."

Photographs in the court file show large bruises and Taser burns over his body.

Bramich was charged with two counts of resisting arrest with violence, two counts of battery on a law enforcement officer and one count of resisting arrest without violence.

During last month's trial, one battery count was dismissed.

Bramich's criminal attorney, J. Andrew Crawford, said much of the testimony focused on Bramich's injuries, including one 50,000-volt Taser stun that lasted more than 20 seconds.

On Sept. 17, Bramich was acquitted on all but the misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest without violence.

The next day, prosecutor Robert Bruce asked Newton to order Bramich to pay for investigative and medical costs.

The judge refused, and also denied any payment for injuries claimed by one of the officers.

"The jury rejected what the officer said. I was disgusted by this case," said Newton. "This man was Tasered multiple times, beaten with an ASP (metal baton) for no reason. It was disgusting."

When Bruce repeatedly argued that Bramich should pay the costs, the judge said Bruce had an "absolute blind spot to what this defendant was put through."

Gulfport police declined to comment, citing the possibility of litigation. Bay News 9 reported last month that an internal police review found that the officers involved — Steven Woodman and Thomas Beltran — acted appropriately.

Man to sue Gulfport police over Tasing, beating 10/10/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 15, 2008 7:38pm]
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