Miami Beach police officer Adriel Dominguez claimed he was in fear for his safety when he cold cocked an unarmed man who had questioned his authority earlier this month.
But Miami Beach police officer Frederick Dominguez, who did not witness the incident but watched the video, believes the cop was out of line and is now seeking whistleblower protection.
After all, the video clearly shows Lowell Poitier never took a fighting stance before the cop punched.
However, the 35-year-old man is now facing charges of assaulting a police officer as well as disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Meanwhile Frederick Dominguez, who is not related to Adriel Dominguez, has retained a lawyer considering how common it is for whistleblower cops to face retaliation.
According to the Miami Herald:
Frederick Dominguez, no relation to the officer who threw the punch, wasn’t at the scene on Dec. 3, but the Miami Beach police officer obtained a copy of the video, according to his attorney Michael Pizzi. After reviewing the video, the 12-year veteran took exception to it, saying it didn’t jibe with the accounts in the police reports.
Pizzi said another reason that Dominguez decided to make the video public was his concern that department leaders push street officers to be too aggressive.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s outrageous behavior. It’s an assault in broad daylight,” said Pizzi, who is asking the city for whistle-blower protection for his client. “He clearly did not take a fighting stance or clench his fist to fight the officer like it says in the report.”
The union representing Adriel Dominguez weighed in, fully supporting the officer’s actions.
“The video, along with the police officer’s body camera’s footage captured the dangerous confrontation with an agitated, angry and physically aggressive defendant,” said Miami Beach Fraternal Order of Police President Robert Jenkins. “There is no question officer Dominguez was legally justified and fully entitled to protect himself.”
The incident took place on December 3 at 9 p.m. outside a restaurant on Ocean Drive, an area that primarily serves tourists.
Miami Beach police received a 911 call that a man was being belligerent.
Police say when they approached Poitier, he was agitated, called them “crackers” and “appeared as if he wanted to challenge” the authority of one cop.
The arrest report said Poitier said “what, what” and “clenched his fist, took a fighting stance and leaned into” Dominguez’s face. It went on to say that Adriel Dominguez, fearing for his safety, struck the man with his fist.
The video shows a different story. In the video Poitier doesn’t appear to clench his fist or take a fighting stance.
Poitier suffered a cut lip and was taken to Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach for treatment. He was charged with misdemeanor assault on a police officer, resisting arrest without violence and disorderly conduct.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office may choose to not press charges on Poitier. Prosecutors could also decide the punch was unlawful and criminally charge Adriel Dominguez.
But that is not likely because Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle has a long reputation of being soft on cops who abuse or kill citizens.
Adriel Dominguez has been placed on paid leave as the incident continues to be investigated.