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Hollywood Police: Officer Who Shot Michael Ortiz Intended To Use Taser, Not A Gun

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Hollywood police have offered their version of what happened when one of their officers shot a naked and handcuffed man, leaving him paralyzed. The department now says their officer meant to grab his taser, but instead he grabbed his gun and fired a life-altering shot.

The shooting took place on July 3, 2021, after police say Michael Ortiz, 42, had called 911 saying he had taken drugs and was suffering from chest pains. Paramedics responded first. Ortiz, naked and agitated, emerged from a sixth-floor apartment and threatened to jump from a balcony, said police.

It's been seven months since FDLE started investigating the officer involved shooting.

Only CBS4 had access to a few seconds of surveillance video released by a source, that shows the moments leading up to the shooting and the struggle between Ortiz and paramedics.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump said his client suffers from anxiety and was having a mental health crisis after his dog went missing.

The confrontation was caught on camera but hasn't been released.

Crump filed a lawsuit demanding Hollywood police release the surveillance video.

"You must release the video that shows us why you shot a naked man, face down and paralyzed him," Crump told CBS4.

A witness also spoke to CBS4.

"They were right over here," the witness said as she recalled the struggle between Ortiz and paramedics. "He was naked, he didn't have on any clothes."  She said police arrived shortly after.  "I heard them scuffling and arguing and it looked like he had handcuffs on," she explained.  That's when another officer arrived on scene.

"By the time he had came up, everything had escalated.  Next thing I know I heard a shot," the witness said.

A shot that would forever change Ortiz's life.

He's now paralyzed and needs around the clock care.

Hollywood police released a statement reading in part, "While the investigation is still active and ongoing, an initial review suggests the officer intended to deploy his taser, but instead discharged his firearm."

In response to the police statement, Ortiz attorneys issued a statement that read in part:

"The shooting of Michael Ortiz was no accident. He was handcuffed, naked, on the ground, and posed no threat to the officer when he was shot in the back, resulting in his paralysis. We've heard these claims before, and they continue to be an insult to the victims and to the communities these officers are sworn to serve. Michael Ortiz needed help from the Hollywood Police Department, but what they provided instead was a bullet in the back. Their actions, lack of transparency, and ridiculous excuses are shameful."

The day of the shooting, police say Ortiz was making "delusional and suicidal statements." They said Ortiz used his legs to resist being put into restraints as they tried to move him into an elevator to a waiting rescue vehicle.

Once the FDLE investigation is concluded, their results will be sent to the State Attorney's Office who will then decide whether there will be any criminal charges.

The officer who shot Ortiz was put on desk duty pending the outcome of the investigation.

The Ortiz lawsuit comes as Minneapolis police officer Kim Potter awaits sentencing for manslaughter after killing Daunte Wright during a traffic stop last year. She too said she thought she was firing her stun gun, not her handgun.

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