A lawsuit has been filed against the Fontana Police Department, claiming that the same officer who shot an unarmed man to death last February was involved in a separate violent incident which left a Fontana man severely injured four months before.
Juan Gonzalez, 36, said at a news conference on Aug. 17 that Officer Johnny Tuitavake assaulted him and broke his hip while Gonzalez was attempting to surrender on Oct. 30, 2020.
Attorneys for Gonzalez released body worn camera footage that they had obtained, claiming that the video proves their client's case.
"(Gonzalez) never resisted. He never attacked the officer; the officer attacked him," said attorney Humberto Guizar. "The video shows clear excessive force. That officer should not be on the force."
Tuitavake, who joined the Fontana P.D. in 2019, is the officer who shot and killed Daverion Deauntre Kinard, 29, after a foot pursuit in northern Fontana on Feb. 13. As a result of that incident, the Fontana P.D. paid $1 million to Kinard's parents in a recent settlement, but the shooting remains under investigation.
----- THE INCIDENT involving Gonzalez began at a restaurant, when he said that he and his wife "exchanged words" and someone called police.
During the news conference, Gonzalez said he walked out of the restaurant and was approached by an officer. Gonzalez said he walked away from the officer and would not talk to him because he hadn't committed a crime. Gonzalez got into his truck and left the location, and police followed him.
"I didn't see him (the officer) for two minutes when I was driving away," Gonzalez said.
Then, he said, "I saw him in the rear view mirror. I stopped at a stop sign, and that's when I got out with my hands up. I surrendered. He (Tuitavake) approached me and beat him down. I wasn't resisting. I was just getting hit by the cop."
Guizar said that the officer "separates his leg from his hip and punches him with his fist."
Gonzalez said the officer was demanding that Gonzalez get down on the ground, but gave him no time to do so.
Gonzalez, who is married with three children and two grandchildren, said he has suffered emotional as well as physical trauma as a result of the incident.
"Every day I'm in pain, and every day I'm depressed," he said, adding that he has not been able to work.
----- THE FONTANA P.D. released the following statement in regard to the incident:
"Mr. Gonzalez was arrested on October 30th, 2020. The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office has filed one count of felony evading in a vehicle and one count of use of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony. His criminal case is still pending at this time.
"Mr. Gonzalez was discovered, by his wife, to be having drinks with a female coworker. Witnesses called 9-1-1 to report a domestic dispute and described a physical assault taking place. Mr. Gonzalez became confrontational with officers immediately upon arrival, yelled obscene and profane comments while simultaneously displaying his middle finger. Officers attempted to deescalate the situation and asked Gonzalez to step out of the vehicle. Gonzalez responded with additional profanities and drove off, nearly striking one of the officers.
"Following a vehicle pursuit, he was eventually arrested. During the pursuit Mr. Gonzalez repeatedly slammed on his brakes in an attempt to cause a collision. During the course of taking the resistive Gonzalez into custody, a leg sweep technique was utilized by officers to subdue him. Mr. Gonzalez appeared to suffer an injury, so received immediate medical treatment. Mr. Gonzalez was then booked into jail."
----- IN RESPONSE, Gonzalez claimed that there was never any violence inside the restaurant, and that he did not slam on his brakes to try to cause a collision. Attorney Christian Contreras added that the charges filed by the D.A.'s Office against Gonzalez are "frivolous" because he committed "no crime."
The Police Department also said in the statement:
"It is incredibly unfortunate the Law Offices of Guizar, Henderson, and Carrazco are using the death of Mr. Kinard in an attempt to promote their allegations against officers of the Fontana Police Department.
"These are independent cases, each having countless differing circumstances. Each case requires officers to respond accordingly. These cases are in no way related and should not be treated as such."
Guizar said that if the Fontana P.D. would have fired Tuitavake after the incident in October, then the shooting of Kinard this year would have never taken place.
Guizar said his firm filed a complaint about the incident involving Gonzalez right after it happened, prior to the Kinard shooting, and he is wanting to take the case to court.
"We want the public to know there is a bad cop out there, who has a bad temperament," Guizar said.