Former officer in court accused of sucker punching Fort Lauderdale hotel valet

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A former police officer appeared in court after he was caught on camera sucker punching a valet at a South Florida hotel.

The valet employee, Rodolfo Rodriguez, could be seen knocked out cold after the punch on July 25, 2017. On Tuesday, former officer John Kiernan maintained that he did not start the altercation.

7News was in the courtroom for the trail, Tuesday.

Kiernan faces a misdemeanor battery charge for allegedly punching a valet in front of the Ocean Sky Hotel in Fort Lauderdale.

Rodriguez’s attorney said were it not for the video, the case may have never gone to trial.

“Thank God there was a video because had there not been a video, this gentleman probably could have gotten away with it,” the attorney said.

Kiernan and his wife, who is seen in the video wearing red shorts, told police the two were arguing over an $18 parking fee.

“I specifically asked him. I was like, can we put the $18 on our room charge. What do we need to do to take care of this, and he was just, ‘No,'” Kiernan’s wife 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 to get off the property.”

The punch knocked Rodriguez unconscious.

“It’s not a reason to fight me for a parking spot, for a parking fee,” Rodriguez said in August 2017.

The prosecutor told the jury that actions have consequences.

“Unprovoked, totally unnecessary, Mr. Kiernan — boom — knocks out the valet attendant cold on the floor,” she said.

However, the defense attorney said Kiernan believed he was defending himself.

“At that point, Mr. Kiernan believed he was in an imminent attack,” the defense attorney said, “took a shot at him and did in fact knock him unconscious.”

If convicted, Kiernan could face up to a year behind bars.

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