Miami Beach Police Officer Adriel Dominguez sucker-punched a Black man identified as Lowell Poitier Jr., a 35-year-old homeless man, at a hotel in Miami.
Officer Frederick Dominguez, who isn’t related to the other officer, released a copy of the body cam video of the incident that took place at the Pelican Hotel on Dec. 3, according to The Miami Herald. He wasn’t on the scene at the time of the incident. That officer is asking for protection after making the choice to expose his fellow officer.
In the video, Poitier, Jr. is seen grabbing something and an unidentified voice says “watch yourself, bud” a few times. Poitier responds with “what, what” right before Dominguez steps in, grabs him and punches him the face, knocking him out cold.
Officer Dominguez’s report of the occurrence stated his use of force was justified. It also stated that Poitier was behaving in an “aggressive manner” and had “clenched his fists” as if he were ready to attack.
*The video can be seen here*
Poitier was later arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault on a police officer, resisting arrest without violence and disorderly conduct.
In the state of Florida, misdemeanor assault is an intentional and unlawful threat made by one person towards another in order to create a reasonable fear that violence or harm is about to occur. No physical contact has to occur in order for the charge to be filed.
The Miami-Dade Branch NAACP President Ruban Roberts spoke with Miami Beach Police Chief Daniel Oates after viewing the video. Roberts said based on what he saw on the mobile-phone video of a body camera recording, “it does not appear that this man assaulted the officer or is resisting in any way. He [the officer] violated that man’s civil rights.”
“We urge that this officer be relieved of duty immediately,” said Roberts. “We are asking the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office to investigate based on the video evidence.”
Oates placed Dominguez on desk duty and Internal Affairs has an ongoing investigation.
With respect to Officer Frederick Dominguez, he communicated through his attorney, Michael Pizzi, that the arrest and incident reports were complete fabrications.
Pizzi, shocked by the ordeal, stated: “This incident did not happen in the Jim Crow South at the turn of the century. This happened a week ago in Miami Beach in the United States, in broad daylight. It is disgraceful that this type of thing still happens and we need to put a stop to this.”
The attorney added that the whistleblower wanted to accomplish two things by providing evidence against the actions of his fellow police officers:
“He wants to expose the fact that a young African American male was knocked unconscious and brutally beaten because he went to a restaurant in broad daylight to have lunch. And nobody did anything about it.”
“No. 2, he wants to obtain protection to make sure that nobody retaliates against him because he was brave enough to come forward,” said Pizzi.
Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales expressed his concern about the incident.
“Mistreatment of anyone by our police officers is unacceptable,”said Morales. “I have full faith and confidence in our police department to complete a thorough investigation into this matter to determine what happened.”