Deputy accused of beating homeless man

Jaw-dropping dashboard camera video shows an Alachua County sheriff' deputy slamming 50-year-old Francis Dreessen to the ground.  It’s a move for which the Sheriff's Office is recommending battery charges against Deputy Dominic Bevilacqua. 

According to his warrant affidavit, Bevilacqua slammed Dreessen onto the hood of his car.  Then, after a short struggle on the hood, investigators said he slammed Dreessen face down on the ground before using a Taser on him twice.  Dreessen can be heard shrieking in the video.

Lt. Brandon Kutner, with the Sheriff's Office, says the other deputy on scene immediately called for an investigation into the use of force. 

“She felt a little uneasy, contacted the supervisor, requested that the supervisor come to the scene because of the injuries that were sustained,” said Kutner.  

Records show Dreessen suffered a two-inch cut above his eyebrow, a two-inch bump on his cheekbone and cuts on his knuckles and knees.   According to the investigation, the incident left two dents on the hood of Deputy Bevilacqua’s department-issued SUV. 

Kutner says Deputy Bevilacqua was responding to a call from a woman about a suspicious person. 

“She was visiting her elderly mother and noticed that an individual who appeared to be homeless was sitting in a ditch in front of their gated residence,” said Lt. Kutner. 

When deputies arrived, Dreessen appeared to be petting his dog.

“How about you come over here and talk to me,” Bevilacqua is heard saying in the video.  When Dreessen didn’t respond immediately, the deputy reacted.  “Is he homeless? Wonderful,” Bevilacqua said.    The situation takes a turn when Dreessen tries to walk away.  “No you're not going to be on your way, you're going to give me your ID,” said Bevilacqua. 

Lt. Kutner says after seeing the dash cam video, Sheriff Sadie Darnell immediately put Bevilacqua on administrative leave.  On Tuesday, the department recommended to the State Attorney’s office that Bevilacqua be charged with battery. 

Dreessen was taken into custody for a mental health evaluation, but he was not charged with any criminal wrongdoing. 

Investigators are still trying to reunite Dreessen and his dog.