2 citizens help deputy under attack, Florida sheriff's office says

Two citizens will be recognized with an award after they leaped into action when they saw a deputy being attacked during a traffic stop, a Florida sheriff's office said.

The Volusia County Sheriff's Office said that Deputy Zimmerer was traveling eastbound on Howland Boulevard on Tuesday when a black Ford F-150 cut across all lanes of traffic and almost hit him. 

They said that Deputy Zimmerer then conducted a traffic stop on the driver, identified as 41-year-old Frank Padilla. He was said to be acting erratic and when Zimmerer attempted to put handcuffs on him, Padilla hit him in the head with his elbow. This knocked the handcuffs into the middle of the street and then Padilla began fighting the deputy.

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Two citizen witnesses reportedly saw what was happening and jumped from their vehicles to help. Padilla thrashed on the ground and even tried to bite Deputy Zimmerer's leg. A taser was said to have no effect on him and the struggle caused the deputy's body camera's main power button to switch off.

Eventually, more deputies got to the scene and helped take Padilla into custody, the Sheriff's Office said. Padilla's dog, which jumped out of his truck to protect him, was corralled by one of the citizen witnesses and placed safely back in the truck.

Deputies said that Padilla was charged with resisting an officer with violence, battery on a law enforcement officer, driving with a suspended license, careless driving, and expired registration.

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Both of the witnesses who helped Deputy Zimmerer will receive a citizen's award for their actions, Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said.

"All my respect and gratitude goes out to these two men who took action when they saw a deputy under attack. It makes me proud to know that in Volusia County, our residents still have our deputies' backs," Sheriff Chitwood added.

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