Broward Sheriff's Office deputy accused of punching homeless man

Matthew Eisenberg charged with battery, official misconduct, falsifying records

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Broward Sheriff's Office detective is accused of punching a homeless man during an arrest.

Matthew Eisenberg, a detective at BSO, was arrested Tuesday.

The arrest stems from an incident at the intersection of N. State Road 7 and W. Commercial Boulevard on November 12, 2011. According to the complaint affidavit, Eisenberg was arresting James Rhodes, who is homeless man, for panhandling at the intersection.

Eisenberg wrote in his report that during the arrest, Rhodes tried breaking free from Eisenberg, so the detective forced Rhodes to the ground. When he hit the ground, Rhodes cut his lip and later spit blood on the window and car door when he was inside the patrol car, according to the arrest report written by Eisenberg.

A BSO deputy told the Broward State Attorney's Office that Rhodes was handcuffed without incident. The BSO deputy and Rhodes testified that, while in the back of the patrol car, Rhodes and Eisenberg exchanged words over a duffle bag containing his belongings.

According to the complaint affidavit, when Eisenberg told Rhodes the bag wasn't coming with him, Rhodes said, "Well, Broward County can buy me a new one." Eisenberg then punched Rhodes in the face. The BSO deputy said Rhodes was bleeding from the mouth and that Eisenberg ripped off part of Rhodes' shirt to clean the blood off the car window.

Eisenberg was charged with battery, official misconduct, and falsifying records.

Eisenberg offered no comment after he walked out of jail on Tuesday afternoon. He has suspended without pay.

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