Former officer found guilty of punching Fort Lauderdale hotel valet

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A jury has found a former police officer guilty of sucker punching a valet in Fort Lauderdale.

John Kiernan was put on trial after he was seen on camera knocking valet employee Rodolfo Rodriguez out cold in front of the Ocean Sky Hotel on July 25, 2017.

Officials said the altercation was over an $18 parking fee at the hotel, but Kiernan claims it was Rodriguez who started the fight.

Kiernan said the valet posed a threat and that he had to hit him.

“He put his hands in his pockets, and he told me that he was going to fight me,” Kiernan said in court, Wednesday. “To me, that is bad.”

Rodriguez said through an attorney that it was the former officer and his wife, also seen in the video, who were rude.

“Furious. He was very worked up,” Rodriguez’s attorney said. “He did not want to accept that he needed to pay for his friends to park there.”

After turning down a plea deal Tuesday, jurors proceeded to deliberate.

“This is an unfortunate situation,” said Kiernan in court. “I’m not proud of what happened, but it was an instinct.”

A verdict was reached Wednesday evening, and Kiernan was sentenced to 30 days in jail, a year of probation and 13 weeks of anger management.

“I watched that video, sir. I thought that was cold, calculated,” the judge said. “You tell me you acted on instinct, but that guy had no idea that was coming, and he really didn’t do anything to you.”

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