MIAMI (WSVN) - The arrest of a spring breaker in South Beach has led his attorney to call attention to body camera video that shows an officer punching and slamming his client, but the police department said the officer’s actions were justified.
The incident took place near Ninth Street and Ocean Drive, March 19.
Investigators said 20-year-old Edward Palad was detained after he slapped a police sergeant on the back.
“Put your hands behind your back!” the arresting officer is heard yelling as he slams the suspect onto the ground.
“Ow! What are you doing? Ow!” said Palad.
The footage showed the officer slamming Palad into a newspaper stand, then punching him and bringing him to the ground.
“Stop resisting,” the officer said.
“I’m not resisting … I’m just scared. I am dripping blood,” said Palad.
A picture taken after the arrest shows Palad with a bloodied face and broken teeth.
Michael Grieco, Palad’s attorney, spoke with 7News on Sunday.
“It’s like schoolyard bully stuff,” he said.
As he prepares for Palad’s trial to start on Monday, Grieco said his client has a spotless record and was bullied by the bigger law enforcers.
“This kid weighs a buck nothing soaking wet,” said Grieco.
When asked whether or not he really knows whether Palad slapped the sergeant, Grieco replied, “I know what my client tells me, which is he didn’t do a thing.”
In the bodycam footage, Palad appears to acknowledge he touched the sergeant.
“Because I patted you on the back too hard. That’s why,” Palad is heard saying.
He later said, “Because you got a pat on the back.”
“He slapped me in the back a couple times,” the sergeant is heard saying in the video.
According to an arrest form, Palad “gave him two forceful open hand slaps to the middle of his back.”
The report also states, “During the incident, the defendant admitted to being drunk and slapping Sergeant Gonzalez on the back.”
Asked whether or not the officer would have struck and arrested his client if he didn’t do anything, Grieco replied, “Maybe he said something the officer didn’t like.”
“I’m from New York, from the suburbs! I’m from the suburbs!” Palad is heard saying in the video.
“In the suburbs, do you slap cops in the back? Is that what you do?” the arresting officer replied.
“I [inaudible] to the sidewalk because I smashed Officer Gonzalez in the face too hard,” Palad is heard saying in the video.
In a statement issued Sunday, a Miami Beach Police spokesperson wrote, “The response of our officers was triggered by the defendant’s actions. The case is being prosecuted by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office and no complaint has been received by our internal affairs unit.”
Jury selection for Palad’s trial began Monday at 9 a.m. Grieco and his client have already rejected a plea deal.
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