Miami Beach Man Accused of Stalking in Case Involving Lifeguards

A Miami Beach attorney who police say has a history of incidents with lifeguards is facing stalking and other charges after authorities say he took keys from an ocean rescue vehicle.

James Ernest Malphurs, 41, is charged with stalking, petit theft, burglary and battery on an emergency medical care provider, according to a Miami Beach Police arrest report.

Malphurs was booked into jail early Thursday and later released on bond. It's unknown if he's hired an attorney.

Malphurs spoke with NBC 6 off camera and denied the charges. He said the lifeguards have been verbally harassing him since last year, when he was told he couldn't walk on the beach with his dog.

He also said he has been the repeated victim of hate speech from the lifeguards and said they've thrown things at him as he jogs by and have assaulted him several times.

According to the report, Malphurs walked up to an ocean rescue vehicle near 64th Street and removed the keys from the ignition Wednesday evening. When he was asked to give the keys back, he refused and took off running, the report said.

The lifeguard gave chase and Malphurs tossed the keys in some bushes. The lifeguard detained Malphurs until officers arrived, the report said.

Malphurs called the story in the report a "complete fabrication" and said he was assaulted by the lifeguards who hit in in the back of the head and choked him for several minutes.

Wednesday's alleged incident is just the latest involving Malphurs and ocean rescue lifeguards. The report said last June, Malphurs put his dog on a beach patrol vehicle and tried to drive away. When he was stopped by a beach patrol lieutenant, he began sending his dog to attack the lieutenant, the report said.

Malphurs admitted he briefly had his dog on the beach but denied that he set it to attack the lieutenant.

In August, Malphurs wrote "Ocean Rescue Homophobes" on the outside of a life guard shack, the report said. And just over a month ago, in March, Malphurs grabbed a safety cone from a lifeguard stand and punched an ATV before he took off running, the report said.

Malphurs admitted to scrawling the message but said it was done in chalk and could easily be removed. He also admitted to knocking over the cones as a non-violent protest to his treatment but denied stealing them.

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