MIAMI – A South Florida man announced his intentions to sue the Miami Police Department last year over what he said was a false arrest from 2018, and on Thursday, he and his attorney held a news conference to discuss the Civilian Investigative Panel’s final ruling on the case.
The ruling was handed down on Jan. 20 and the panel found that Officer Ioannys Llanes used excessive force when detaining Oscar Riou. The panel also found that Llanes did not have reason to arrest Riou and that he used improper procedure.
“We are humbled and ecstatic about this significant ruling where no officers received a finding of exonerated because it gives credence to the sound basis of our complaint about how police treated this black retired honorably-discharged Army Veteran Mr. Riou, who served our country for over 20 years,” a statement from attorney Rawsi Williams read. “We thank the CIP for its hard work. Internal Affairs gave its report in 2020 wherein Miami PD EXONERATED and did not sustain these same charges against Officer Ioannys Llanes despite the compelling evidence proving otherwise.”
Riou, 63, said he was roughed up by Officer Llanes in December 2018 simply for sitting on a park bench at Alonzo Kelly Park.
RAW FOOTAGE: Video shows interaction between Oscar Riou and Officer Ioannys Llanes. (Exchange begins at 5:47.)
He said Llanes threw him to the ground while he was filming at the park and arrested him on a charge of resisting arrest without violence.
The charge was later dropped.
In the recording, Llanes is heard asking Riou if he knew the park was closed, and Riou says, “No.”
During that rough arrest, Riou is heard telling the officer, “You are hurting me.”
“Why are you doing this to me?” he asked at one point.
“Have a seat,” Llanes told Riou.
“Ok, sir,” Riou responded.
While the exchange between Riou and the officer seemed pleasant in the beginning of the video, it appears things escalated when the officer accused Riou of throwing something away that he was holding -- believed to be drugs.
“Why did you throw whatever you had in your hand?” the officer asked Riou.
It also appeared in the video that there was a struggle over Riou’s camera.
“Please, sir. I’ll bring out my ID. I’ll show you everything you need to see,” Riou told the officer.
Riou was ultimately placed in the back of a police car for well over an hour as several officers and a K-9 searched the small park, but no drugs were ever found.
“Sustained excessive and unnecessary force, sustained false arrest, sustained misconduct upgraded from improper procedure, and why was that upgraded? Because even IA found in its own investigation that Officer Llanes gave false statements on his police report,” Williams said.
Riou filed an Internal Affairs complaint, alleging Llanes unlawfully ordered him to leave the park, searched him without his consent and falsely arrested him.
An Internal Affairs investigation, however, cleared Llanes of wrongdoing.
Riou and his attorney plan to file their lawsuit next week.
Local 10 News has attempted to contact the Miami Police Department for comment, as well as the Civilian Investigative Panel, and is awaiting a response.