Video Shows Guest Punch Valet at Fort Lauderdale Resort - NBC 6 South Florida

Video Shows Guest Punch Valet at Fort Lauderdale Resort

"He punched my face and I don't remember nothing," valet says

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC 6's Willard Shepard reports.

    (Published Friday, July 28, 2017)

    A dispute over a parking charge ended with a customer punching and knocking out a valet at a Fort Lauderdale resort, and the entire incident was caught on camera.

    The incident happened Tuesday night at the Ocean Sky Hotel & Resort at 4060 Galt Ocean Drive and was captured on the hotel's surveillance video system.

    Fort Lauderdale Police Department said it is aware of the incident. 

    The video shows valet Rudolph Rodriguez approached by hotel guest John Henry Kiernan outside the resort's front entrance. The two have a brief conversation before Kiernan suddenly punches Rodriguez in the face, knocking him to the ground.

    Kiernan bends over Rodriguez and puts one of the valet's arms behind his back as a crowd forms around the men. Kiernan walks away and a woman comes and helps Rodriguez into a sitting position before the video ends.

    "He punched my face and I don't remember nothing," Rodriguez said. "He punched me for no reason."

    Rodriguez told NBC 6 that Kiernan was upset over an $18 valet charge. In a phone interview with NBC 6 Friday, Kiernan said the dispute was over the charge for a vehicle belonging to someone who he was hosting at the hotel.

    Kiernan, who lives in central Florida, said Rodriguez was very disrespectful to him and his wife in front of his kids and that the valet told him he wanted to fight.

    "I guess he finally got irritated and looked at me and said 'you are going to fight me,'" Kiernan said.

    Fort Lauderdale Police responded to the hotel but didn't arrest the 37-year-old Kiernan, who told officers he was a former cop. Police said at this point it was a Misdemeanor Battery but Kiernan hasn't been charged. The department said it will wait on the State Attorney's Office to pursue charges. 

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    Kiernan said from his experience as a law enforcement officer, he felt in danger for his safety and struck first. He said in hindsight it would have been better to stay in his truck but said he felt he acted appropriately.

    "Based on everything I have dealt with in my life...and based on his body language, the way he spoke to me, I did feel he was going to go to physical contact," Kiernan said. "I didn't know if the guy had a weapon on him. So as soon as he said that I struck him one time and he went down."

    The hotel's manager said Rudolph's injuries were serious enough that he had to be hospitalized.

    "I want them to arrest this guy. I need justice to be done," hotel manager Nigel Blair said. "You just can't assault somebody and expect to just get away with it."

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