Video captures fight at Florida restaurant; 2 arrested

A cellphone video seen more than 400,000 times on Facebook and the footage from two police officers' body cameras show a fight in a downtown West Palm Beach restaurant Sunday that led to two arrests and one man being Tased by police, officials said.

West Palm Beach police are reviewing that video, as well as officers' body camera footage from the incident at Banko Cantina, as part of the department's standard review of any use of force, spokesman Sgt. David Lefont said. As of Monday evening, police had not said if any of the officers will be placed on administrative leave.

"We know the public wants to know more about what happened, so we are moving quickly to gather all of the facts," Lefont said in an emailed statement.

Authorities arrested Amandy Fountain, 31, of Port St. Lucie, on charges of aggravated battery on a law-enforcement officer and violently resisting an officer. The St. Lucie County Public Schools employee posted a $4,000 cash bond and was released Monday afternoon from the Palm Beach County Jail, records show. The schools spokeswoman said Fountain is on “temporary duty” away from students.

West Palm Beach police also arrested 25-year-old Shannon Chatman, also of Port St. Lucie, on charges of battery on an officer and nonviolently resisting arrest. She posted a $4,500 cash bond and was released early Monday from the jail, records show.

In Fountain's arrest report, Officer Travis Limauro wrote he was working an overtime shift that afternoon at the restaurant, on Olive Avenue south of Clematis Street. At about 4:30 p.m., bouncers told the officer a "huge fight" had broken out in the stairwell.

Body camera footage from Limauro shows his view of the crowded stairwell, where more than a dozen people were yelling and pushing each other. After a few minutes, officers and bouncers clear the stairwell of the three-story bar and people make their way out.

At one point, the bouncer told Fountain to leave the restaurant, according to the report. Limauro approached her and reiterated she needed to step outside. Fountain “aggressively yelled” at Limauro, he wrote, and she said, “Make me (expletive) move.”

In the body camera footage, several people attempt to hold her back, but she appears to break free and strike Limauro. The video, which is shaking violently at this point, shows Limauro hit the woman back and push her to the ground.

He wrote in his report that he hit her in the jaw and shoved her back. He said Fountain kept kicking at him, so the officer pushed her legs to the side and pinned his arm against her chest in what he called an effort “to calm her down.”

It’s unclear from the body camera video what she is doing on the ground because of the camera angle. In the video, he yells at her, “You ain’t gotta (expletive) hit me.”

With the help of another officer, Limauro handcuffs her and puts her in his patrol car, the video shows.

In the background, the crowd that was calming down and making its way out of the restaurant is now yelling and surrounding the officers and Fountain on the ground.

The officer wrote he had a small cut on his chin and a few cuts on his hand. A pocket on his shirt was ripped off during the struggle, he said.

Once he had put Fountain in the car, she says she’s going to jail and that she is a teacher, the video shows.

“I know you’re going to jail. You hit me in my (expletive) mouth,” he said, shows the body camera footage.

Later, as he walks around the scene and makes his way back to his car, where Fountain is sitting in the back seat, two men approach him and say he didn’t have to punch her in the face, the video footage shows.

“Oh, but she can punch me?” he asks them.

The men and Limauro keep going back and forth over the issue until Limauro appears to push one man and tells him to go, the video shows.

“I do what I want,” Limauro is heard saying in the recording.

Another man, who does not appear to be involved in the fight, tells Limauro he’s wrong.

“Just because you’re a cop doesn’t mean you can do it,” the unidentified man says.

“But she can hit me in the face?” Limauro replies.

As the man continues to tell the officer he is wrong, Limauro shoves the man into the crowd and said, “You can leave,” the video shows.

Before that, while Fountain was on the ground being handcuffed inside Banko Cantina, Shannon Chatman was in the crowd around the officers. At the beginning of one of two videos released by police, she is seen pushing her open palm into Officer Kevin Harrell’s face.

The one-minute Facebook video, posted by user Jeano Junior, also shows Chatman push her hand against an officer's face again while the crowd moves out of the restaurant. Harrell wrote in his arrest report that she appeared to be pushing past him. Police did not release body camera video from Harrell.

Someone in the crowd tried to pull Chatman backward, the video shows. The officer took her to the ground, pulling her hair as he did, footage shows, and someone tried to pull her up. Harrell wrote that he told Chatman she was under arrest.

Harrell moved her to a patrol car parked across the street, with one of his hands still pulling her hair, the video shows. The woman turned around, and other people -- one of whom was her boyfriend -- tried to step between her and the officer in the street, according to Harrell’s report.

The Facebook video then shows Fountain being led by another officer toward the patrol cars. A third officer follows behind, holding a man under his arm and under his neck. The man falls to the ground and the officer drags him toward the cars, the video shows.

That man was identified by officers as Akeem McDonald.

The body camera video shows that while Fountain is on the ground being arrested, McDonald appears to try to get to her, but is held back by the crowd. At one point, he pushes a woman who is in front of him and then walks off to the side, the video shows. Just seconds later, Officer Jason Zangara uses a Taser on McDonald and the prongs land on his chest, the video shows.

West Palm Beach police said the man’s shirt kept the Taser from being effective. In the body camera footage, McDonald appears to spasm three seconds after being struck and then slumps to his left side. Lefont says that motion is McDonald removing the Taser wires.

As Zangara catches him, he places his arm under McDonald’s armpit and chin, the video footage shows. Then, as McDonald is brought outside by Zangara and his arms remain under his armpit and around his neck, a few men follow the officers pleading with them to let McDonald go, the footage shows.

“Please stop choking him. Please stop choking him. You already tased him! Please stop choking him,” they say.

McDonald was not arrested, but given a notice to appear for obstruction, according to Lefont. He said officers at the scene did not did not want to charge the man. Police did not immediately provide his place of residence or his age.

No one from Banko Cantina immediately returned The Palm Beach Post’s request for comment. Also, neither Fountain nor Chatman returned request for comment.

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