Circle of Brotherhood on 5 officers facing misdemeanor battery for violent arrests: ‘Charges are as weak as church water wine’
Members of a Miami nonprofit that encourages Black men to engage in community activism held a news conference outside of the Miami Beach Police Department to respond to the recent violent arrests at the Royal Palm Hotel in South Beach.
Miami Beach police Sgt. Jose Perez, Officer Kevin Perez, Officer Robert Sabater, Officer David Rivas, and Officer Steven Serrano were suspended with pay and are each facing one count of misdemeanor battery.
“These charges are as weak as church water wine,” Circle of Brotherhood executive director Lyle Muhammad told reporters.
Muhammed said they were meeting with Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Clements and had requested a meeting with Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. He said the charges and summons did not reflect the nature of the violence captured on video and the “policing culture” needs to be “redefined” with more training.
“This is something that we relive over and over again,” Muhammad said, later adding, “I want to see those officers in handcuffs.”
WATCH: Circle of Brotherhood news conference
Fernandez Rundle announced the charges Monday and said more charges related to the July 26 arrests may be filed.
Officers arrested three tourists at the Royal Palm Hotel shortly before 2 a.m.: Dalonta Crudup, 24, of Kentucky, and Khalid Vaughn, 28, and Sharif Cobb, 27, both of New York. Crudup was the subject of a police chase. Vaughn and Cobb stumbled upon Crudup’s violent arrest in the hotel’s lobby.
William DC Clark, a 28-year veteran of the Miami-Dade Fire Department and Circle of Brotherhood member, said there were officers who saw the violence and didn’t intervene to “deescalate” the situation. He said every officer “who played a part in the situation that day” should be suspended, fired, or demoted.
“Most may be good officers, but it’s time for those good officers to take a stand, “ Clark said.
Fernandez Rundle charged Sgt. Jose Perez for kicking a handcuffed Crudup three times. She charged Officer Kevin Perez for kicking him at least four times. She said the Perez are not related. She also charged Sabater, Rivas, and Serrano for their actions while arresting Vaughn.
Fernandez Rundle showed reporters video from surveillance cameras at the hotel and officers’ body cameras on the arrests of Vaughn and Crudup, but she did not mention Cobb’s arrest.
The Circle of Brotherhood allowed Tangela Sears, a political consultant, who runs Florida Parents of Murdered Children, a nonprofit organization that advocates for grieving families, to also talk to reporters during the event. She said the police violence and how Clements and Fernandez Rundle responded to it was unacceptable.
“When we come in contact with these types of officers, they need to be terminated immediately and the State Attorney needs to charge them with a felony charge and there should be a process in the courts in place for them,” Sears said. “They should be jailed.”
Muhammed and members of the Circle of Brotherhood met at 12 p.m. in front of the Miami Beach Police Department’s headquarters at 1100 Washington Ave.
WATCH: Fernandez Rundle’s news conference
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Local 10 News Reporter Rosh Lowe contributed to this report.