One minute, a man was cruising on Ocean Drive, and then the next, a police officer was hitting his window and shouting at him. The officers dragged him out of the car, hit him, forced him on the ground and shocked him with two stun guns.
They injured him so badly that he ended up at Mount Sinai Medical Center early Saturday. His car was in the hands of Tremont and Beach Towing, a company that charges an average of $245 per tow and continues to charge daily for keeping the car.
According to the arrest form, the whole thing started because Williams wasn't wearing a seat belt. A Miami Beach police officer conducting a traffic enforcement detail said he spotted Pierre Phelan Williams in a forest green Toyota Solar. He was traveling north on Ocean Drive.
Williams, 38, was driving slow enough for a uniformed police officer to approach the car and shine his flashlight on him. A witness said Williams was just sitting in his car, when the officer started to shout orders, and hit his window with a flashlight and his hand.
The arrest form said the officer hit the glass with his left palm "forcefully," as other officers approached Williams from the driver's side of the car. A witness said that when Williams stopped, the officers were quick to pull him out of the car. One officer reached into the car to shift the gear, while another reached for the ignition.
The police officers reported Williams braced and tensed his body to pull away from them and tried to reach for something in the center console with his right hand. They also reported Williams hit an officer on his chin and his upper chest during a struggle.
"Officer Fernandez, then, with open handed strikes, hit Mr. Williams on the right side of his face," the arrest form said. The officers added, Fernandez also "delivered distractionary strikes to the right side of Mr. Williams face with his right elbow."
Once the officers dragged Williams out of the car, witnesses said the officers quickly forced him down to the ground at Ninth Street and Ocean Drive. A crowd gathered on both sides of the major thoroughfare, which attracts tourists with iconic Art Deco hotels, bars and restaurants near the beach.
According to the arrest form two police officers deployed their Taser guns. One stunned Williams in the abdomen and torso multiple times "to try to gain compliance," and the other stunned him on the lower back until the "deployment appeared to achieve some pain compliance."
The officers said Williams was reaching for his waistband as if he was reaching for a weapon. The officer reportedly stopped firing the Taser gun when a colleague shouted: "Ok, stop the Taser! He is good!"
Williams didn't have a gun in the car or in his possession, according to the arrest form. When a pair of tourists on South Beach saw Williams' eyes closed, they said they worried that the police officers had killed him. A video shows police officers surrounding him and one flashing a light to Williams face.
Officer Ernesto Rodriguez, the department's spokesman, later said in an e-mail that "there was no shooting."
Miami Beach Fire Rescue paramedics took Williams to a nearby hospital where he was admitted for medical treatment. The Miami Beach Police Department was accusing Williams, who lives in Miami Gardens, with resisting arrest after a police officer repeatedly attempted to stop him for not wearing a seatbelt.
According to the arrest form the police officers want to charge Williams with battering a police officer and a firefighter, resisting an officer with violence, resisting another officer without violence, and failure to obey a police officer and a firefighter.
Local 10 News' Melissa Alvarez contributed to this report.
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Robert Weaver, whose Name was Withdrawn to Run IHS Speaks Out: Why Good People Don’t Go to Washington
In American Indian Nations
February 23, 2018
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