MIAMI – A civilian panel is saying a Miami police sergeant was in the wrong when he detained a South Florida doctor who was helping the homeless at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
The panel’s decision comes months after the Miami Police Department said its treatment was justified.
Tuesday night members of Miami’s Civilian Investigative Panel sided with the African American man seen in a viral video being put in handcuffs outside his home by a Miami police sergeant.
Local 10 News first reported about University of Miami Dr. Arman Henderson back in April.
“I’m just happy that I didn’t end up like George Floyd,” Henderson said. “I felt like I was racially profiled.”
Henderson was unloading his van in front of his house, preparing to volunteer by testing the homeless for COVID-19, when the incident occurred.
Sgt. Mario Menegazzo was driving by and stopped, asking Henderson about illegal dumping in the area.
“He asked me for my ID. I said I didn’t have it, it’s in the house, and then he decided to put me in handcuffs,” Henderson said.
Menegazzo, who was not wearing a mask, is seen getting very close to the doctor’s face.
“He had his finger on my face, I could feel his saliva on my lips,” Henderson said.
Henderson said his wife came out of their home, asking the sergeant why he had her husband restrained.
Menegazzo eventually let him go and left the area.
The Civilian Investigative Board is now moving to recommend that the Miami Police Department reviews its policy to improve the way officers communicate with people when they’re being detained.
Some of the board members said they don’t buy the sergeant’s illegal dumping concerns for stopping and eventually putting the doctor in handcuffs.