What to Know
- Former MMA fighter Michael Nates was arrested Sunday on charges including attempted kidnapping and aggravated battery on law enforcement
- Miami Police said after he was taken into custody, Nates fought with officers, and it took about a dozen to restrain him
- Nates remains hospitalized after the encounter, and his family and attorneys believe the violent altercation could have been avoided
New video shows the moments a former mixed martial arts fighter was confronted by an angry father who accused him of trying to take his daughter before his arrest by Miami Police that ended with the fighter hospitalized.
Michael Nates, 31, was scheduled to appear in bond court Thursday on charges including attempted kidnapping and aggravated battery on law enforcement, but he’s still in the hospital after a violent confrontation with police.
And now surveillance footage obtained by NBC 6 shows police coming in contact with Nates outside the gym where he teaches martial arts. The man Nates was working for said that Nates was obsessed with protecting kids in the area and that's what his family said Nates in his own mind was trying to do Sunday when approaching a man and his daughter.
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.
In the video, Nates is seen stumbling and running to get inside the building where he works. A short time later a car pulls up and the father of the girl, Alex Torres, is seen getting out with another man who was driving.
The video shows Torres getting a rock and going up to the door, while the man with him kicks the door. Torres said he was looking for Nates, who he claimed minutes earlier had tried to abduct his daughter.
"He came from behind me and asked me 'what's your daughter’s name?' Asked my daughter 'what’s your name?' My daughter ignored him," Torres said. "I put my daughter behind me. That's when he told me 'you going to fight for your daughter.' He kept telling me 'that’s not your daughter.'"
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.
Nates' family said he's a former state wrestling champion who has been wrestling with the demon of mental health. His family said Nates believed he was helping the little girl.
"My son is a kids lover. He's a trainer for small kids, martial arts, and he thought this girl was being kidnapped," mother Mitzi Nates said.
Torres said he didn’t know and was just trying to protect his daughter.
"I started running with her. He started running behind me. I’m yelling for help. I’m yelling for someone to help me," Torres said.
The surveillance video showed an officer arrive just as Torres and his friend confronted Nates outside the gym. Nates is seen getting on his knees, lying on the ground, and he is handcuffed while the agitated friend is seen yelling at him. When police get Nates up and go to take him away the friend strikes him in the face.
Nates' attorney said officers should have detected that Nates was psychologically unstable at the time.
"He was speaking nonsense when he was arrested. They should have immediately realized that he was having a psychotic episode and instead of treating it as such they didn't," said Nates' attorney, Solangel Verde. "They escalated the situation to the point where now we have a boy who has been in ICU."
It was later at the police station where Nates got into a violent altercation with police that led to the injuries which put him in the hospital. Officials said he hit an officer, tried to take another officer's weapon, and said Tazing didn’t stop him.
"Additional officers had to come in to try to restrain him. It took about 12 to 13 officers to be able to restrain this man," Miami Police spokesperson Kenia Fallat said.
Nates' lawyers think what ultimately happened to him could have been prevented, and said he's never been arrested before. They also want to know if he was arrested on Sunday why it wasn’t until Wednesday when they were able to sort out where he was, saying his mother even went to the morgue to see if he was there.