A Miami police officer is claiming he had every legal right to storm into a hospital and attack a nurse for refusing to admit his niece who had been discharged the previous day.
But Lester Bohnenblust’s thuggish antics were caught on security camera and he not only lost his job, he ended up charged with battery and false imprisonment (all much later, of course).
The 51-year-old former cop is now on trial for his attack on the 67-year-old male nurse. The trial is expected to end this week.
The incident took place on May 23, 2018 when a father attempted to admit his teenage daughter into Jackson Behavioral Health Hospital to be evaluated for mental health issues, according to the Miami Herald.
The daughter had been discharged from the hospital the previous day and hospital staff told her father she did not need to be readmitted. The nurse gave the father instructions for followups with the hospital and the two left.
“She was pretty bored,” Hospital Nurse Manager James Nicholson testified. “Maybe a little bit angry she was brought back.”
But they came back ten minutes later with Bohnenblust who was in full uniform and waving a legal document, demanding they readmit his niece.
According to the Miami Herald which has seen the video:
As Nicholson was walking to open a door, Bohnenblust grabbed him by the back of his jacket. Nicholson said his immediate reaction was to get away from him and yell, “Get your f***ing hands off me!” He knew nursing staff was nearby and continued to yell for help.
At one point, Bohnenblust “slammed” Nicholson on the ground, he said. Nicholson injured his knee.
The officer never told Nicholson to stop walking before he grabbed him, and he didn’t kick or hit him or commit a crime, he said.
Lavonia McCoy, a licensed practical nurse at the hospital, told the jury she was in her office when she heard Nicholson yelling. She found an officer gripping Nicholson’s jacket by the lapels and shaking him. Nicholson told her to get the hospital’s CEO.
Bohnenblust told Nicholson he was under arrest, snatched his employee ID off his jacket and called for backup, Nicholson said. During cross examination, there was a discrepancy in whether Bohnenblust ever asked Nicholson for his ID.
It sounds like a pretty clear case of battery and false imprisonment, which are the charges he is facing, but his lawyer is claiming it was a justified arrest because the nurse not only resisted arrest, he cursed at the cop.
The cop’s attorney, Rawsi Wiiliams, is also claiming the father of the girl spoke only Spanish and the hospital staff told them instructions in English, which is now part of their defense because as she told the Herald, “Bohnenblust was trying to make sure the girl received care after her father was not communicated with properly.”
Bohnenblust was not arrested until December 13, 2018, six months after the incident, and he was not terminated until April 2.