Civilian investigative panel finds Miami Police sergeant who arrested UM doctor crossed line

MIAMI (WSVN) - A civilian investigative panel has found the Miami Police sergeant who arrested a University of Miami doctor overstepped his power.

The officer was cleared of any wrongdoing by an internal affairs investigation for handcuffing the doctor outside of his home in April, but the panel found that he was in the wrong.

“I’m not for lip action at all,” Dr. Armen Henderson said. “I think this police officer should be fired. He should not have been promoted, and he probably shouldn’t have been on the force in the first place.”

Henderson reacted to a civilian panel’s finding that he was in the right following his April encounter with City of Miami Police.

“I knew that anybody who is not biased of police officers would’ve seen the video, and even some who may have friends and family who are police officers, they would’ve said this is wrong,” he said. “This is not how police should conduct themselves.”

In a video captured outside of his home, the doctor could be seen unloading a van when a sergeant pulled up alongside him.

“He started questioning me automatically if I lived there, what I was doing,” Henderson said. “I told him exactly what I was doing. I was calm. My body language was normal.”

Eventually, he was detained and placed in handcuffs until his wife came outside.

“She was able to deescalate the situation, and he asked her to get her ID,” Henderson said. “She went inside to get her ID, and before she came back out, he took me out of handcuffs.”

City of Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina explained at the time of the incident, the officer was on the lookout for people dumping trash in the neighborhood.

“We are aware of the video. This will be investigated fully,” Colina had said.

An internal affairs investigation cleared the officer of any wrongdoing, but a civilian panel upheld four separate complaints that:

  • “Sergeant Menegazzo is seen on video putting his finger in the complainant’s face.”
  • “Sergeant Menegazzo is on video not wearing a face mask or facial covering.”
  • “Sergeant Menegazzo admits to failing to notify dispatch when he stopped the complainant, as required.”
  • “The complainant said he was handcuffed because of his ‘attitude.’ Sergeant Menegazzo said the complainant was handcuffed because he was uncooperative and attempted to walk away.”

The panel recommended a departmental order be developed to guide officers.

Henderson said he hasn’t been contacted by City of Miami Police, and knowing the officer was cleared internally wonders what change, if any, will come.

“There’s no point in having an investigative panel that is outside the police department who makes recommendations that are valid, and you don’t follow them,” he said. “That’s just blowing hot air, honestly.”

Police said they are not commenting on the civilian panel’s findings at this time.

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