Fired Homestead Officer Reaches Plea Deal in Police Brutality Case

Sgt. Jeffrey Rome will avoid jail time after pleading no contest to misdemeanor battery charges

Friday, Jun 21, 2013  |  Updated 2:37 PM EDT
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Homestead Police Sgt. Jeffrey Rome, Officer Giovanni Soto and Sgt. Lizanne Deegan were fired from their jobs Thursday after investigators said surveillance video showed instances of police brutality. Detective Fernando Morales spoke about the officers' terminations. Police union president John Rivera stood by his officers in a statement.

Homestead Police Sgt. Jeffrey Rome, Officer Giovanni Soto and Sgt. Lizanne Deegan were fired from their jobs Thursday after investigators said surveillance video showed instances of police brutality. Detective Fernando Morales spoke about the officers' terminations. Police union president John Rivera stood by his officers in a statement.

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Photos and Videos

Surveillance Video Shows Homestead Sergeant Pepper-Spraying Man: Prosecutors

More surveillance video released in the case of a Homestead Police sergeant facing multiple charges shows him pepper-spraying a Hispanic man, prosecutors said. The video shows Sgt. Jeffrey Rome, 56, pepper-spraying the man twice outside Celio’s Latin Quarter Bar, prosecutors said. He then follows him down the street and appears to spray him a third time.

Homestead Officers Charged With Misconduct Leave Jail

Three Homestead Police officers bonded out of jail Monday night after being charged in connection with two 2011 assaults outside a Homestead bar, according to court records. Officer Giovanni Soto, 40, faces charges of felony battery and official misconduct of a public servant, and Sgt. Lizanne Deegan, 44, faces a charge of official misconduct of a public servant in connection with a beating on Feb. 6, 2011, according to their arrest warrant. Sgt. Jeffrey Rome, 56, of Homestead, who was implicated in the first incident, faces a charge of battery after he pepper-sprayed a 24-year-old Hispanic man outside the same establishment, Celio s Latin Quarter Bar, on April 17, 2011, his arrest warrant said.
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One of the three Homestead Police officers who was fired amid allegations of police brutality reached a plea deal with prosecutors that will keep him out of jail.

Sgt. Jeffrey Rome pleaded no contest to two charges of misdemeanor battery Friday, and will have all other charges against him dropped under the deal.

3 Homestead Officers Fired After Internal Affairs Investigations

He was sentenced to one day of probation and will have to pay $1,400 in court costs.

Investigators said surveillance video showed Rome pepper-spraying a Hispanic man outside Celio’s Latin Quarter Bar twice, then following him up the street and spraying him a third time back in 2011. He was also accused of pepper-spraying a second man and assaulting a third.

Surveillance Video of Homestead Officer Facing Charges Released
 
Rome, Sgt. Lizanne Deegan and Officer Giovanni Soto were fired in March. Soto is accused of beating a Hispanic man outside the bar, when he punched him in the mouth and hit him again on the ground, according to investigators.

Deegan allegedly covered up the attacks and denied victims medical attention.

3 Homestead Officers Charged in Incidents Outside Bar

"You abused your power and preyed on those that you were entrusted to protect," Assistant City Manager Allyson Love wrote in the officers' termination letters back in March.

Police Union president John Rivera stood by the officers at the time of their firing.

"We have been working with both the State Attorney’s Office and the Homestead police chief to bring to light the true facts of this case," said Rivera, the leader of the Miami-Dade County Police Benevolent Association, in a statement. "We have had issues with these cases and their substance since the beginning; however, we are continuing to work towards what we believe will be a positive resolution for everyone involved."

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