Deputies Attacked MMA Style, Attempting to Break Up Domestic Dispute
BROOKSVILLE – Last night around 7:30 p.m. RNRF received reports of a physical altercation involving Sheriff’s Deputies, at a residence on Stardust Way.
Officials just released the following report describing the chaotic incident.
On 06-14-15 at approximately 7:40 p.m., Hernando County deputies responded to 8372 Stardust Way in Brooksville regarding a man, later identified as Joseph DeFranco, swinging a wrench and causing a physical disturbance with several members of his family.
While enroute, deputies were advised by the dispatcher that DeFranco’s family members (father Salvatore, brother Salvatore Jr., and brother Anthony) were holding Joseph DeFranco down on the ground.
Upon arrival, deputies were met by a female, Georgette DeFranco (Joseph DeFranco’s mother and Salvatore Sr.’s wife). She advised another female, Vanessa, that “the cops are here.” Vanessa proceeded to advise Sal Sr., Sal Jr., Anthony and Joseph that “the cops are here.”
Georgette then advised the deputies that her son Joseph was currently being held down by his father and brothers. As the deputies approached the area of the yard where this was occurring, they observed Sal Sr. holding his son in a very tight chokehold. It appeared that Joseph’s face was turning purple. It appeared that Sal Jr., and Anthony were also trying to restrain Joseph but were not assisting with the chokehold.
The deputies requested numerous times for everyone to calm down and disengage, to no avail.
Deputies attempted to loosen the grip that Sal Sr. had on Joseph so he could breathe. At that time, Sal Jr. began to throw punches at the deputies. While the deputies were attempting to restrain Sal Jr., he began utilizing his Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighting techniques on both of them, kicking one deputy in the abdomen and the other in the thighs. In order to gain control of the suspect, a deputy deployed his agency issued Taser, making contact with Sal Jr. At this time, Vanessa Steiger (Sal Jr.’s girlfriend) pushed the deputy backwards, grabbed both of the Taser lines and snapped them, causing the connection to the irate Sal Jr. to disconnect.
As the deputy was reloading his tazer, Georgette DeFranco rushed him, advising “It’s all your fault, I’ll have your F***ing job… You caused this.”
As deputies continued to attempt to free Joseph from the chokehold that Sal Sr. and Anthony were holding him in, even Joseph was kicking and flopping, hitting both deputies with his arms and feet in an attempt to injure them. Soon, deputies were able to remove Anthony from the altercation.
As deputies attempted to handcuff Joseph, he became even more combative, refusing to remove his hands from underneath his body. As deputies escorted a handcuffed Joseph to a marked patrol car, he continued to kick and flail around, kicking a deputy in the knee, causing injury. The deputy deployed Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) spray. Joseph then began to comply.
Sal Sr., Georgette, and Anthony continued to scream profanities at the deputies.
Fire/Rescue was called to the scene to decontaminate Joseph due to OC spray and to evaluate the deputy that received an injury.
Vanessa Steiger was cooperative with deputies and provided a sworn written statement.
Anthony DeFranco also provided a sworn written statement.
All other parties were uncooperative with law enforcement.
The following individuals were arrested on scene and charged as follows:
– Vanessa Steiger W/F DOB/08-21-1994
o Battery on LEO
o Resist w/o Violence
o Bond – $6,000
– Joseph Alexander DeFranco W/M DOB/04-18-1997
o Battery on LEO (3 counts)
o Resist w Violence (2 counts)
o Bond – $25,000
– Salvatore Joseph DeFranco W/M DOB/02-03-1991
o Battery on LEO (2 counts)
o Resist w Violence (2 counts)
o Bond – $20,000.
RNRF observed Joseph DeFranco being led away by fire rescue personnel to an awaiting ambulance for treatment.
Neighbors say there are always problems at the residence, including late night gun fire and loud drunken parties. One neighbor, who wished to remain anonymous, said she was nearly struck by a ricocheting bullet, fired from the residence.
Neighbors are hopeful that this incident may put a stop to the mayhem.
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