What to Know
- Michael Nates, 31, is facing a number of charges after officials said he brawled with Miami officers
- Family members said Nates was a former MMA fighter who has been training kids and law enforcement in self-defense
A former mixed martial arts fighter from Miami was hospitalized and is facing charges after police said he fought with officers during an arrest in an attempted kidnapping case.
Michael Nates, 31, is facing a number of charges in the Sunday incident, including battery, aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting an officer with violence, escape, attempted kidnapping and criminal mischief, according to arrest reports.
According to the reports, the incident began when Nates approached a man who was walking with his 3-year-old daughter and asked the man if the girl was his daughter. The man ignored him but Nates followed them and asked if the girl wanted to come with him, the reports said.
At one point, Nates asked the man "Are you willing to fight for your daughter?" then punched the man and grabbed the girl by her arm, the reports said. A witness was able to grab the girl and run away, and Nates fled the scene.
After Nates was taken into custody, he told officers he didn't know that the man was the girl's father and said he was trying to save the girl from getting kidnapped, the reports said. The girl suffered a laceration to her lip and scratch on her knee, and her father had bruising on his face, the reports said.
After Nates was brought to the police station, an officer was removing his handcuffs so that Nates could be could be photographed by crime scene technician when Nates punched the officer in the nose, pushed him to a wall and grabbed the officer's handgun, trying to remove it from the holster, the reports said.
Nates and the officer started to wrestle for the handgun, and the officer was able to get it in control, the reports said. Multiple officers struggled to detain Nates, who kicked another officer in the head as an officer used a stun gun on Nates that wasn't effective, the reports said.
After several minutes, officers were able to place handcuffs on Nates, who then kicked and broke some glass in the processing area, the reports said.
Nates and the officer who was punched were both taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital to be treated for their injuries, the reports said. Family members told NBC 6 that Nates suffered severe injuries, and photos released by family members showed him handcuffed to a hospital bed with injuries throughout his body.
"My son has been severely beat, he has a punctured lung, he has possible meningitis, he's full of bruises, his arms are completely swelled up," mother Mitzi Nates said.
Nates' mother and his attorney said he was the state wrestling champion during his days at Hialeah High School and had been training kids and law enforcement officers in self-defense. They said he had some mental health issues recently and think that Miami Police should have handled their encounter with him much differently.
"He was speaking nonsense when was arrested, they should have immediately realized that he was having a psychotic episode and instead of treating it as such they didn’t," attorney Solangel Verde said. "They escalated the situation to the point where now we have a boy who has been in ICU for three days, going on four."
Police said there was no way for them to know and officers were just dealing with the violence they were facing at the time.
"Initially we had no idea what this man's background was, that is why these are the things that we face up against each and every day," Miami Police spokeswoman Kenia Fallat said. "Little did we know that this man has some sort of background in martial arts. Clearly we saw that's what happened when the officers attempted to take him into custody."
Multiple MMA websites list Nates as a featherweight whose last fight was in 2012. He has no criminal record in South Florida.