Caught on Camera

Miami Police Rough Arrest Caught on Video

A man was struck and knocked to the ground by a Miami Police Officer during an arrest in February.

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Cellphone video from February 23 shows Jean Paul Petrozelli on the ground unresponsive and bloody after being struck by a Miami Police officer during an arrest at Bayside Market Place.

“I’m scared. I’m scared for my life. I’m grateful that I’m still alive,” said Petrozelli when asked about his reaction to the video.

Petrozelli says he was drunk and doesn’t remember what happened that night.

The police report says two officers “were working on an off-duty detail in full police uniform…” when they were notified there was “an intoxicated male vomiting inside the establishment and refusing to leave.”

“My friend tells me he was trying to help me off the property and I was extremely intoxicated,” Petrozelli said.

In the report, officer Lucas Rodrigues wrote, “While advising the defendant to exit the premises, I grabbed his left arm to assist him off the property and the defendant pulled away from me…”

Then, he said, Petrozelli tried to punch him.

“I then struck the defendant with my right fist knocking him to the ground,” Rodrigues wrote in the report.

The officer can also be heard on video saying “you’re not supposed to attack an officer.”

But Claude Brisson, who captured the encounter with his cellphone, told NBC 6 that’s not what happened.

“At no moment I saw him (Petrozelli) pretending to throw a punch at the police officer,” Brisson said.

Brisson doesn’t know Petrozelli but says, after the officer struck the man, he felt compelled to pull out his cellphone and start recording.

“I recorded it because I thought that what he did was wrong,” Brisson said. "There was no need for that punch. There was no need. There were two police officers. There were two securities from Bayside that were there. If they wanted to handcuff this kid, they would handcuff him."

The Miami Civilian Investigative Panel (CIP) began investigating the case after Petrozelli filed a complaint with that agency and Miami Police Internal Affairs.

“It is concerning,” said CIP’s Assistant Director Rodney Jacobs. “Anytime we receive a video like this, we take it seriously. It’s obviously still under investigation by our office.”

NBC 6 Investigators found this is not the only open the case the CIP has for Officer Rodrigues.

In 2017, Rodrigues said he was responding to an emergency call in his cruiser when he crashed into Ramon Bueno’s car in Little Havana. Bueno died, and after an internal affairs investigation found Rodrigues broke over a dozen departmental orders, the officer lost his patrol car privileges for 12 months. The CIP's investigation into the case is still ongoing.

The CIP also told NBC 6 the officer was placed on a monitoring list from 2015 to 2016 after receiving multiple citizens’ complaints.

Miami Police declined our request for an interview, saying there is an active internal affairs investigation and they cannot comment on the case. The department cited the same reason for denying us the police body camera video that could show what happened before the punch.

The Miami Fraternal Order of Police told us officer Rodrigues acted in a justified manner and will be cleared by investigators.

Petrozelli was arrested and charged with resisting an officer with violence and disorderly intoxication. He was booked into jail but not before he was taken to the hospital with a broken jaw and a missing tooth.

“I’m dealing with criminal charges and I’m dealing with medical bills,” Petrozelli said.

His criminal trial is set for August 14.

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