A Lake Wales police officer is recovering after being assaulted by a suspect he was trying to arrest.

The incident happened just after 10 p.m. Monday in the area of SR-60 and 12th Street. 

Authorities say Officer Colt Black was in the middle of a traffic stop when he noticed a man riding by on a bike without a headlight. Officer Black stopped the man and asked him to wait while he finished the initial traffic stop.

Police say the man, later identified as 41-year-old Marcelino Jimenez-Cruz, agreed to wait at first but then got back on his bike and took off, ignoring several orders to stop.

As Jimenez-Cruz rode through the Orange Grove Shopping Center, police say Officer Black pulled in front of him to block his path. Jimenez-Cruz hit the patrol car and started running away.

Officer Black deployed his taser but police say it had little effect on Jimenez-Cruz, who then charged at the officer and started to hit him in the head and neck.

After Officer Black was knocked to the ground, police say the suspect got on top of him and continued to attack him. At one point, authorities say Jimenez-Cruz took the officer’s portable radio and started violently hitting him in the head with it. Jimenez-Cruz also took Officer Black’s expandable baton, leaving him defenseless.

Investigators say Jimenez-Cruz also bit Officer Black twice, wounding him on his right wrist and his right thigh.

Backup officers called to the scene arrived to find Jimenez-Cruz still on top of Officer Black and attacking him. They say he continued to resist them as he was taken into custody.

Officer Black was taken to the Lake Wales Medical Center, then transferred to Lakeland Regional Medical Center to be treated for injuries to his head, arm and leg. He is still in the hospital and is expected to be okay.

Ismael Tirado said the sound of tires screeching in the Orange Grove Plaza in Lake Wales got his attention.

“I saw him [Officer Black] tase the man three times and the third time the guy was up already beating on him,” Tirado told WFLA.

Tirado said he saw Cruz punching, beating and even tossing Officer Black and feared the worst would happen, so he called 911.

“This guy is bigger than him and he’s taking advantage of that. He’s slinging the officer around and all that,” he said.

Tirado can be heard on the 911 call telling the dispatcher, “I’m in fear of the cop’s life.”

Tirado said he was relieved when backup arrived and helped Officer Black.

“I just wanted to make sure he was alright.”

He said he has even called to check on Officer Black.

Jimenez-Cruz is facing several charges including attempted second-degree murder of a law enforcement officer and aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer.

Police say an ICE Detainer has also been requested because he is not a legal United States Citizen.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office issued a correction on Wednesday, saying the office’s previous stance was that after his arrest in 2017, they informed ICE of his status in the country.

However, the sheriff’s office has now learned that because of an error where the wrong box was checked on a form, ICE was not informed.

“A box was incorrectly checked that stated Marcelino Jimenez-Cruz was an United States citizen.The Polk County Sheriff’s Office regrets the error,” a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office said.

Jimenez-Cruz is currently on probation for resisting an officer with violence. He has a lengthy list of previous arrests dating back to 2010 that includes battery, kidnapping, battery on a law enforcement officer and DUI.