Former cop accused of punching valet explains his actions

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - New details have been released involving a former police officer who punched a valet employee at the Ocean Sky Hotel in Fort Lauderdale.

Valet employee, Rodolfo Rodriguez, could be seen on surveillance camera as the former officer, John Kiernan, threw a punch that knocked him out, back on July 25.

Officials said the altercation was all over the cost of the parking at the Fort Lauderdale hotel, but Kiernan said the valet was the one who started the fight.

The issue was over the $18 fee. The former New Smyrna cop became angry and punched the valet attendant so hard it knocked him out for five minutes.

Kiernan spoke to a Fort Lauderdale detective from his home in New Smyrna via phone. “My wife and my two children were in the vehicle,” he said.

His wife, who was also seen on surveillance, said that Rodriguez was rude.

Parts of that call was released:

Detective: “That’s what he said: B**** you better pay.”

Wife: “Right. B*****. He was like b**** you better give me $18 cash or you gotta get out of our parking lot now.”

Detective: “OK. Were either of you drinking that day? Had you guys had some drinks or anything?”

Kiernan: “I had one beer.”

According to Rodriguez, the former officer said he was going to fight him because of the price, but Kiernan’s wife offered a different story.

“I specifically asked him. I was like, ‘Can we put that $18 on our room charge. What do we need to do to take care of this?’ And he was just, ‘no,'” she said. “He was very nasty to me and continued to tell me if I did not pay him $18 cash, that they couldn’t park there and get off the property.”

“Thank God there was a video in this case because if there had not been a video in this case, this gentleman probably could have gotten away with it,” said Rodriguez’ attorney David Kubiliun.

Kiernan has been charged with misdemeanor battery.

“I feel good,” Rodriguez said, “’cause this guy is gonna be arrested and take a charge from the police.”

“I’ve been out of law enforcement for almost eight years, and I have not put my hands on a single person in that entire time,” Kiernan said.

Rodriguez said he was not rude to Kiernan and witnesses have corroborated his story.

Kiernan will have to return to South Florida for an Aug. 31 hearing. If he’s convicted on this charge, he could face up to a year behind bars.

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