FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Surveillance video captured what appears to be a hotel guest punching and knocking out a valet, and the employee said the physical confrontation sparked over parking costs.
The incident took place Tuesday at the Ocean Sky Hotel, located at 4060 Galt Ocean Drive, on Fort Lauderdale Beach.
Surveillance video from the incident shows a man discussing something with valet attendant Rodolfo Rodriguez.
Speaking with 7News about the incident, the valet said the guest decided he did not want to pay to park. “He told me, ‘I’ve got a friend visiting me,’ and I told him, ‘It’s $18 for the parking,'” he said.
Moments later, the guest is seen punching the valet’s face, knocking him out. “Boom! Punched my face,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez is seen lying unconscious for about 20 seconds, and while passed out, the guest places the valet’s arms behind his back, in a manner that a police officer would when detaining someone.
The valet then regained consciousness. “I challenged the guy. I asked him, ‘What the hell are you doing?'” he said.
But he would not get an answer from the guest.
According to hotel staff, the man identified himself as a former Atlanta-area police officer. Employees identified him as John Kiernan of New Smyrna Beach.
“He was just angry,” said Rodriguez.
Mark Dyer, the hotel’s night manager, said this is an unfortunate incident. “[Guests] come in here for a vacation at the Ocean Sky, and they’re looking forward to having a nice time around the beach,” he said, “and they’re looking to have fun, surf and sand.”
And, Dyer said, part of the experience for guests with vehicles is paying for parking. “If you’re a guest or if you’re a visitor, you have to pay for parking,” he said.
A sign outside the hotel’s entrance lists the parking fees.
Fort Lauderdale Police and Fire Rescue responded to the scene, and Rodriguez was taken to the hospital and later discharged.
The guest was not arrested, and he has not been charged in the incident. “I kept asking, ‘Why is this guy not going to jail? Why is not in handcuffs?'” said Dyer. “‘He just assaulted my employee.'”
Fort Lauderdale Police released a statement regarding the incident that reads, “The incident that occurred, based on the information provided to the officer at the time of the incident, is a Misdemeanor Battery … Misdemeanor Battery cases are commonly followed up by the victim with the State Attorney’s Office if they wish to do so. Should the facts of the incident change at a later time indicating a greater offense, the case will be followed up by our detectives.”
When asked what he would like to see happen, Rodriguez replied, “That he go to jail. It’s dangerous for other people.”
Kiernan has not responded to 7News’ calls for comment.
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