4 Cops Get Paid Vacation During Investigation Of Beating

Albert Aricola

Albert Aricola

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. — Albert Arciola needed a trip to the hospital after being severely beaten during his arrest in February, police reports say.

By June, four deputies involved in the arrest had been taken off the road.

Gerald Wengert, Matthew Griffith, Daniel Miller and Sean O’Brien were suspended with pay June 12 while the Broward Sheriff’s Office conducts an Internal Affairs investigation, records show.

Sheriff’s officials declined further comment, citing the ongoing inquiry.

Wengert has made headlines for previous arrests in which he was accused of excessive force.

Arciola, 52, remained jailed Friday.

His jail mugshot shows his right eye swollen shut, blackened and bloody; his cheek, swollen beyond measure.

Arciola was arrested Feb. 22 on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest with violence.

According to deputies, Arciola had been drinking and smoking crack with a friend when he threatened the man with a knife. The man locked his doors and called police.

In an arrest report, O’Brien says Arciola was in an RV on the property and initially refused orders to come out. When he finally did, he dropped his hands toward his waist. Unsure whether Arciola was armed, O’Brien says he punched him twice on the head before cuffing him.

Later, when Wengert tried to adjust the handcuffs, Arciola punched him in the chest, the report says.

In a report obtained by Channel 10, Wengert says he punched Arciola twice in the face, causing him to fall and slam the right side of his face on the side of the truck.

Arciola has pleaded not guilty to the aggravated assault charge.

BSO Deputy Gerald Wengert

BSO Deputy Gerald Wengert

The Broward State Attorney’s Office dropped the battery charge on July 15 and never formally charged Arciola with resisting arrest.

Julie Lindahl, attorney for Arciola, could not be reached for comment.

In 1987, Arciola was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer. After pleading guilty, he was sentenced to probation and adjudication was withheld.

His next hearing is before Broward Circuit Judge Michael Usan on Aug. 13 at 9:30 a.m.

The Sheriff’s Office has no video of the arrest, agency spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright said Friday.

Wengert, an 11-year veteran and onetime reality TV star on the defunct “Unleashed: K-9 Broward County” series, was acquitted in 2013 of battery and official misconduct charges.

Wengert, 37, has been named in a lawsuit accusing him of beating a Hollywood man so badly he spent two days in the hospital.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in September 2013, accuses Wengert of taunting a 21-year-old man at a gas station in March 2010, then pulling him over without cause less than a mile away.

Wengert yanked the man from his car, smashed his head into a door frame and punched him in the face, the lawsuit says.

In an unrelated case, Wengert was charged with battering a 17-year-old boy in July 2012 and writing a false police report to substantiate the boy’s arrest. Wengert was accused of racing to a scene at the behest of his girlfriend, then punching and siccing his police dog on the boy.

He was acquitted by a jury in spring 2013.