Judge denies motion to dismiss Nikolas Cruz jail attack case
A motion to dismiss the case against Nikolas Cruz for an attack on a jail guard captured on surveillance camera was denied by a Broward judge Thursday.
Cruz’s defense argued that surveillance video prior to the scuffle was not preserved, denying him a fair trial. Lawyers asked that the case be thrown out or that the surveillance video be excluded as evidence.
Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer ruled that there was no due process violation. The trial in the jail case is set to begin Monday, separate from proceedings in the Feb. 14, 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas that Cruz confessed to. That trial is expected to be held later this year.
“Because the video in question that was requested by the defense contained only material irrelevant to this case … this court finds that it was neither materially exculpatory nor potentially useful,” Scherer wrote in her order denying the motion to dismiss.
The video preserved included Cruz’s scuffle with a Broward Sheriff’s Office jail guard, plus five minutes prior to the altercation and at least two minutes after Cruz was restrained, Scherer pointed out.
“There is not a scintilla of evidence in this case that anything done in this case with regard to the preservation of video was a flagrant and deliberate act done with the intention of prejudicing the defense,” Scherer wrote.
The incident on Nov. 13, 2018 came nine months after the Parkland shootings. Cruz is seen on the surveillance video holding his head down and walking in circles in the dayroom area of the Broward jail.
At one point, he stops and says something to Sgt. Raymond Beltran.
Beltran later said he told Cruz to stop dragging his sandals. There is no audio on the video, but it shows Cruz extend a middle finger at Beltran and then charge at him.
As they scuffle, Cruz can be seen removing a Taser from Beltran before eventually appearing to comply with commands to get on the ground before being handcuffed.