Miami police officer 51-year-old Lester Bohnenblust was convicted last month of assaulting a person over the age of 65 and false imprisonment.
Now, Bohnenblust, who worked for the Miami Police Department for 25 years, was handed a 45-day sentence by Miami-Dade County Judge Marisa Tinkler Mendez.
Judge Mendez apparently gave officer Bohnenblust a soft sentence considering video surveillance footage from May 18 at Jackson Memorial Hospital shows Bohnenblust grabbing then 66-year-old James Nicholson by his jacket then slamming him to the floor and placing him under arrest.
Officer Bohnenblust says he slammed Nicholson, an elderly licensed registered nurse, to the ground for telling him his niece didn’t meet the medical requirements to be readmitted into the hospital.
“I was never, ever expecting to be grabbed from the back and thrown from side to side to the point where I was yelling at the top of my lungs, ‘Help. Help,'” Nicholson, now 67, recalled.
It all began after officer Bohnenblust’s mentally troubled niece was discharged from the hospital on May 22, 2018.
When her father brought her back the next day on May 23, doctors decided she didn’t meet the medical criteria to be readmitted.
The father was told to schedule a follow up appointment with a Dr.
But instead of scheduling another appointment, the father called Bohnenblust, who arrived at the hospital in his police uniform, demanding his niece be immediately readmitted into the hospital.
When they didn’t, that’s when things got violent.
“I just want to say that I’m responsible for the incident that took place May 23rd,” Bohnenblust said, according to Local 10.
Bohnenblust, who worked for the Miami Police Department for more than 20 years, has since retired from an alleged knee injury.
Nicholson indicated during sentencing that officer Bohnenblust’s sentencing should be stiff.
“What happened to me that day should not happen to anybody, especially a health care worker,” he told the court.
After the judge’s sentencing, the 67-year-old nurse told reporters he thought the prosecutors did a good job prosecuting the case against one of their own.
“I’m glad it’s over and I want to thank the state attorneys that tried the case, and I’m relieved,” he said.
Nicholson’s attorney says his client intends to file a civil rights claim against officer Bohnenblust, the Miami Police Department as well as the city of Miami in the near future.
As part of his sentence, officer Bohnenblust will have to complete 100 hours of community service and three years of probation.