PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) – A former police officer in Palm Beach Gardens is being sued for pulling a gun on a man who called 911 after a swimming pool altercation. The incident occurred last year and the lawsuit has been filed in the United States Southern District of Florida. Ryan Gould, the plaintiff, is suing Bethany Guerriero and Joseph Strzelecki.
According to documents submitted in court, the incident unfolded on May 9, 2023, when Gould went for a swim at his apartment complex’s communal pool. A dispute arose between Gould and another swimmer, which led to the other swimmer’s husband presenting a firearm, leaving Gould scared and seeking help.
Upon calling law enforcement, an officer from the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department arrived at the scene and identified Gould as the 911 caller. However, when Officers Guerriero and Strzelecki arrived, the situation escalated. Guerriero pulled her gun on Gould, while Strzelecki drew his taser and aimed it at him. Gould complied with their demands, got on the ground, and was handcuffed.
The lawsuit alleges that Guerriero falsely claimed the arrest was justified due to Gould’s actions, including repeatedly putting his hands in his pockets, producing his cell phone in an inciting manner, and refusing to comply with instructions. The lawsuit states that Strzelecki failed to intervene to correct Guerriero’s false claims.
Gould claims to have suffered physical pain, mental anguish, increased anxiety, and fear as a result of the incident. He has since relocated from Florida back to his home state of Illinois.
In the lawsuit, Gould demands a trial by jury. He was never charged for the incident.