‘Why I Am In Handcuffs?’: Video Shows ‘Furious’ Florida Cop Pull Gun and Threaten to Shoot Man Who Called 911 for Help. She Later Plays Victim

A video that ended the career of Palm Beach Gardens Police Officer Bethany Guerriero shows the veteran cop pointing her gun at an unarmed man dressed only in swim trunks and ordering him to the ground before handcuffing him.

But that man, Ryan Gould, turned out to be the victim who had called police for help after another man threatened to shoot him during a verbal argument at a community pool inside a South Florida apartment complex on May 9, 2023.

Palm Beach GardensPolice-Officer-Bethany-Guerriero.

Palm Beach Gardens Police Officer Bethany Guerriero pulls gun on man who called police for help. (Photo: YouTube screenshot/Lack Luster)

Palm Beach Gardens Police Chief Clinton Shannon then threatened to arrest Gould on unspecified charges when he began requesting body camera footage of the false arrest at police headquarters a few days later.

Gould then turned to LackLuster, a police accountability YouTube channel with more than 1.2 million subscribers, who obtained surveillance video from the complex along with body camera footage of the cops threatening to arrest Gould at headquarters, publishing an explanatory video titled “Innocent Man Locked Up By Unhinged Cop” – Chief Escalates.”

The 19-minute video, published on June 8, 2023, created an online backlash, leading to an internal affairs investigation that resulted in Guerriero’s termination on Aug. 25. The backlash grew in the following months as LackLuster posted more humiliating videos containing body camera footage from the incident and audio from her internal affairs interview, in which she cried and played the victim to no avail.

But in a deposition recently made public, Guerriero insisted she did nothing wrong because Gould had taken a “bladed stance,” making her fear for her safety even though the video shows Gould was simply stepping backwards as she approached him in an aggressive manner.

“His behavior, to me, was not typical of a victim,” she explained in the deposition that lasted more than three hours. “That’s one of those behaviors that, for me, was equating to possibly not something very good.”

The Arrest

It all started when Gould was swimming laps in the community pool at the Sabal Ridge apartment complex just after 11 a.m. when a woman entered the pool area and asked him to stop so she could swim laps in a perpendicular direction on a shorter end of the pool.

Gould refused to leave the pool, which was otherwise void of people and continued swimming his laps. The woman started swimming her laps, resulting in the two swimming into each other’s path.

Surveillance video contains no audio but shows the two arguing before the woman steps out of the pool to call her husband, Benedetto Salvia, who then walks into the pool area to argue with Gould.

The video shows Salvia and his wife walking towards Gould as he tries to back away. At one point, Salvia walks up to him and stands directly in front of him, lifting his shirt to reveal a gun in a holster tucked in his waistband. That was when Gould left the pool area to call police about a man brandishing a gun. But Salvia was the first to call the police, accusing Gould of harassing his wife, telling dispatchers he displayed a gun and that he has a concealed weapons permit.

Palm Beach Gardens Officer Michael Valerio was the first cop to arrive on the scene, confronting Gould, who was standing outside the pool clubhouse.

“Are you the one with the firearm?” Valerio asked the shirtless man.

“I don’t have it; he does,” responded Gould, prompting the officer to walk around the clubhouse to the pool to confiscate Salvia’s gun without having to draw his own gun.

Guerriero then pulled up to the scene with Palm Beach Gardens Officer Joseph Strzelecki and took a completely different approach.

“Keep your hands out of your pocket for me,” she said after stepping out of her patrol car, according to the video from her body camera.

“I’m not the one with the gun,” Gould responded while reaching into his pocket and pulling out a phone, which angered the cop.

“Keep your hand out of your pocket,” she responded, the tone of her voice escalating. “Put the phone down.”

“I haven’t done a crime; don’t talk to me like that,” he responded, agitated by the cop’s demeanor but keeping his hands at his side away from his pockets.

And that was when she pulled out her gun, ordering him down on the ground to handcuff and arrest him on a charge of resisting arrest without violence. Strzelecki pulled out a Taser and pointed it at Gould.

As Gould sat handcuffed on the hot pavement for minutes before he was eventually placed in a patrol vehicle, Guerriero would go on to berate him as Gould argued with her about his mistreatment while more and more officers gathered at the scene.

“You’re furious. What did I do?”  Gould asks the officer.

While detained, Gould also asks, “Can someone tell why I am in handcuffs?”

But Guerriero was unable to follow through with the arrest because during Gould’s detainment at the scene, she started complaining about chest pains and was rushed to the hospital for what she describes in the deposition as a “cardiac incident,” remaining hospitalized for two days.

Gould filed a federal lawsuit against Guerriero and Strzelecki in January, which is why she was deposed.

The Unarrest

After Guerriero was transported to the hospital, other officers drove Gould to jail wearing only shorts and Crocs, placing him in a cell. Meanwhile, a sergeant was viewing the surveillance video from the apartment complex and determined that Gould was indeed the victim and not the aggressor.

Palm Beach Gardens Police Sgt. Dennis Beath then ordered Gould to be “unarrested” before driving to the hospital to inform Guerriero that her actions would likely lead to disciplinary action. Guerriero tearfully told internal affairs investigators that the sergeant made her feel “humiliated in front of my spouse and two other officers.”

When she asked the sergeant who made the decision to release Gould, he said it was his decision.

“That decision was made when I watched the surveillance footage of Gould,” he responded. “Everything he said to Valerio was 100 percent true about the incident that took place at the pool.

“I saw that video and as I’m watching it, I’m like, ‘get that man out of jail. Get him the f–k out of jail, get him out of f–king jail right now,’” he said, describing his phone conversation with another sergeant at the jail.

“I’ll drive down there personally and pull that man out of jail and drive him to Red Lobster and get him something to eat and get him home.”

Two days later, Salvia was cited for a misdemeanor charge of improper exhibition of a firearm, meaning he only had to sign a notice to appear in court. He pleaded no contest and was required to attend an anger management class, and his gun was returned to him without him having to spend a moment in handcuffs or jail.

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