In a clear case of “shopping while Black,” South Florida cops arrested two men on baseless charges after they had finished paying for their merchandise inside a retail store, then intimidated the store’s cashier into going along with their false narrative.
The cashier initially went along with it, signing a statement that said the two Black men had forced themselves into the store after it had closed. Then when the cops arrived, one of the men “got angry fast and started resisting, verbally and physically.”
But the witness recanted her statement more than a year later in a deposition, resulting in charges dismissed against one of the men, according to the Miami New Times.
However, one of the men who had been falsely charged with battery on an officer had already accepted a plea deal where he pleaded guilty to trespassing in exchange for the charges of battery and resisting arrest to be dismissed.
But now the attorney for Bill Alcius, 20, says he in the process of reopening his client’s case to dismiss that charge. The other man, Ricardo Florestal, 23, had been charged with trespassing and resisting which were dismissed after the witness recanted her statement.
The incident took place on February 13, 2019 inside a Party City store at around 8:30 p.m. just as the store was closing and the two men pleaded to be allowed inside to make a quick purchase which they were allowed to do.
Moments earlier, another man had arrived at the store to pick up an order of balloons and had been allowed inside. That man, described as a White or Hispanic man, was under the impression the two Black men were trying to rob the store and called police.
The store’s manager overheard the phone call and also called police to inform them there was no robbery, that everything was fine and there was no need to come.
However, the cops insisted on coming anyway.
Florestal had already paid for his merchandise when the cops began patting him down and sticking their hands in his pockets while he was recording before arresting him and shutting off his phone.
A surveillance camera, however, continued recording without audio, showing them leading Florestal out the store before leading Alcius out the store.
The video shows Alcius may have inadvertently bumped one of the cops with his shoulder which resulted in the cop striking him in the head and taking him down as other cops joined in.
Hollywood police claimed Alcius “caused bodily harm to Officer Raul Toledo” when he “lowered his right shoulder and struck K9 Officer Toledo in the left side.”
The cops then intimidated the cashier into signing the false narrative they had created. It was only in a deposition while she was under oath that she recanted.
According to the Miami New Times:
But in a sworn interview more than a year later, the cashier told Florestal’s defense attorney that what she’d recounted in her written statement that night was not the true version of events but rather a narrative that police dictated for her to write down.
“In my opinion, I’m not really safe around the cops. I don’t feel safe around them. So, I just like — I did not know what to write at the moment. They told me what to write, word for word,” the employee told Florestal’s attorney.
The cashier said her written statement was not a fair and accurate retelling of the events of that night, adding that her manager had in fact opened the door for Florestal and Alcius and let them into the store.
Citing the new information, the Broward State Attorney’s Office dismissed the case against Florestal last month.
According to a close-out memo, prosecutors “could not determine whether the defendant was in fact trespassing based on the state’s witness indicating that the defendant had a right to be on the property and was purchasing goods from the store.”
It does not appear as if any of the cops involved in this false arrest were disciplined. Watch the video above which contains footage from both videos.