Watch: Parkland school shooter attacks correction officer just months after being in jail

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FORT LAUDERDALE, FL- According to a video shown in court, accused Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz attacked a correction officer at the Broward County Jail in 2018, just months after the deadly mass shooting spree that left 17 dead.

The footage, which was posted on YouTube by Law & Crime, shows Cruz walking in circles in the jail cafeteria.

After several minutes, Cruz is then seen speaking to the officer, identified as Sgt. Raymond Beltran, who was sitting in the corner of the cafeteria. Watch below:

The November 13, 2018 video has no audio, but Cruz is seen giving the officer the finger before lunging at him and wrestling him to the ground while actively swinging at him.

Fox News reported that this 2018 video was played by prosecutors in court during Cruz’s first in-person court appearance since the COVID-19 outbreak.

During the 30-minute court appearance over battery and assault charges stemming from the jail altercation, Cruz sat quietly in his orange jumpsuit and restraints.

The Associated Press (AP) reported that the 2018 jail altercation is being tried separately from the first-degree murder case and the recent hearing on Wednesday, July 14th, was to determine whether prosecutors should have access to Cruz’s medical records.

Prosecutors stated that they need to review the records as Cruz’s attorneys have indicated their defense will be that Sgt. Beltran mistreated Cruz previously and provoked the attack. In reference to the 2018 jail altercation, Beltran reportedly told investigators he asked Cruz not to drag his feet and damage his sandals.

The video shows Cruz flip both middle fingers at Beltran and then him charging the officer, who stands up to defend himself. Cruz, who weighs about 130 pounds, was able to throw Beltran to the ground briefly before the officer was able to flip him over and briefly stabilize him to the ground.

Cruz was able to escape Beltran’s grip and both stood up into boxing stances.

Cruz swung at Beltran first, hitting him in the shoulder before the officer hits Cruz in the face. Beltran then pulls his stun gun and points it at Cruz, who gets on the ground. Cruz was then restrained with handcuffs.

The altercation lasted nearly 60 seconds. Prosecutor Maria Schneider told Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer that her team needs Cruz’s medical records from the time her arrived at the jail, stating that if Beltran previously mistreated him, those injuries, if any, might have been documented. 

David Wheeler, Cruz’s attorney, argued that Cruz’s medical records are private under state and federal law and that most prosecutors should only be allowed to see records of any examinations that happened within one day of the fight.

In the 2018 altercation, neither Cruz or Beltran appeared to suffer any serious injuries. Judge Scherer said she would rule on the prosecutor’s request by Friday, July 16th. 

As of this writing, no trial date has been set for either the assault or the murder cases. Cruz, who is now 22-years-old, faces a possible death sentence if convicted on the murder charges for one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history. 

His attorneys have said he would plead guilty to the murder charges in exchange for a life sentence. However, prosecutors have refused that plea bargain. 

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Criminal who trapped cops in precinct, tried to burn it down gets half the requested jail time sought by prosecutors

May 25th, 2021

SEATTLE, WA – A federal judge sentenced a 20-year-old Alaska man Monday to 20 months in prison for trying to set fire to a Seattle police precinct trapping officers inside during last summer’s racial justice protests, less than half the prison time sought by prosecutors.

Desmond David-Pitts arrived in Seattle from Alaska on August 21, 2020, just three days before he set fire to the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct during the protests.

David-Pitts, of Anchorage, pleaded guilty to a federal arson conspiracy charge in January, acknowledging he set fire to trash piled outside an East Precinct sally-port door late on Aug. 24 while others tried to bar a door to keep officers from escaping the building.

According to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release:

“Over an eleven-minute period, the surveillance video captures David-Pitts not only piling up the trash, but repeatedly lighting it on fire and feeding the flames with more trash. 

“While David-Pitts was lighting the fire, other people who appeared on the surveillance were attempting to use crowbars and cement-like materials to try to disable the door next to the sally-port to prevent officers from exiting the building.”

Despite the efforts of protesters to disable the exit door and light other fires around the building, officers were able to exit the building and extinguish the fires.

David-Pitts was identified less than an hour later in the crowd outside the precinct because of the distinctive pink, camouflage trousers he was wearing, according to the DOJ.

At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour noted the serious danger the fire posed to Seattle Police Officers who could have been trapped inside the building.

Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman said the actions of David-Pitts threatened the safety of the community:

“A handful of people bent on destruction, by committing arson and threatening the safety of our community, also drowned out the important message of those who peacefully protest injustice.

“This defendant joined with others to put Seattle Police Officers at risk.  It is wholly appropriate that he spend time in prison as a consequence of his criminal acts.”

Immediately following the harrowing incident at the East Precinct,  Sgt. Randy Huserik with the Seattle Police Department said the incident was not a protest, but a targeted attack on police:

“That’s not a protest, that’s not a demonstration that’s a directed attack against the police. Last night was, was clearly a coordinated attack against three Seattle Police facilities.

“They mixed up the ‘Quikrete’ and then tried to seal off the exits. I don’t think there’s a lot of leaps that have to be made about what their intent was last night.”

Prosecutors acknowledged that David-Pitts had suffered mistreatment as a child and that he had mental health and substance abuse issues.

But they asked Judge Coughenour for a sentence of just under four years, saying they had already shown leniency by reaching a plea deal that helped David-Pitts avoid a five-year mandatory minimum.

Judge Coughenour disagreed with prosecutors and only sentenced David-Pitts to a 20-month sentence and payment of restitution.

David-Pitts has agreed to pay restitution to the Seattle Police Department for damage to the building, according to the DOJ.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) and the Seattle Police Department.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Todd Greenberg.

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Police arrest man who they say was part of group that locked Seattle police in building, tried to burn them alive

August 28, 2020

 

SEATTLE, WA – An arrest has been made in the arson attack lodged against the Seattle Police East Precinct on August 24th, in which the DOJ announced that a 19-year-old suspect is said to be behind the insidious act.

U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran announced the charges of arson against Desmond David-Pitts on August 27th, attributing to him being the person who attempted to set fire to the SPD building on the evening of the 24th.

Moran stated the following with regard to the arrest and charging of David-Pitts:

“This is the fourth defendant to appear in federal court after being charged with criminal conduct that went far beyond any peaceful protest. Those who go to protest but choose violence and criminal acts over protected speech will face the full weight of federal criminal sanctions.  This illegal conduct must end.”

David-Pitts, described as an Alaskan man, made his first appearance in federal court recently via a video conference. The judge in the case appointed David-Pitts with a court-appointed attorney in the case and could be facing up to 20 years in prison in the event he’s convicted.

The soon-to-retire Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best also commented on the arrest:

“The intentional fire set Monday evening in an organized, pre-planned attack endangered the lives of our officers and our entire community. 

This was not a peaceful protest, or demonstration for equity, but an act of lawlessness.  We are grateful our federal partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office recognize the criminal nature of these acts and are holding those responsible accountable.”

According to federal law enforcement sources, David-Pitts had arrived in Seattle three days prior to the arson attack lodged against the SPD building. He was reportedly captured on video gathering debris to set on fire and igniting it over an 11-minute period.

A police spokesperson said protesters were deliberate in their efforts to trap officers inside the East Precinct building before setting fires.

Something of note in the case is that David-Pitts brother was reportedly shot and killed by police in Alaska back in February of this year. This could have possibly been the impetus for said alleged radicalized criminal conduct.

Law enforcement sources say that it took less than an hour to identify David-Pitts that evening, namely due to the pink camouflage pants he was adorning while allegedly setting the fire. He was reportedly arrested without incident.

But it wasn’t just the SPD building that also caught some “heat” on August 24th, it was also the police union building too.  

 

 

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