MIAMI – Police officers released a video on Wednesday showing how police officers with the Miami-Dade and Miami police departments worked together to rescue a military veteran.
Sgt. Manuel Quesada, and Officers Sergio Vieitez and Mario Martinez were among those who recently met the U.S. Navy veteran who has a 3-year-old daughter.
The distraught man was standing over the ledge of a high Metrorail platform on Feb. 18, near Interstate 95 southbound at the Rickenbacker Causeway Key Biscayne exit ramp.
“He made it seem like several times he was going to drop,” Vieitez said in a police video. “At one point, he had the knife that he had on his hand. He had it against his throat.”
A group of police officers blocked the tracks near the Brickell Metrorail stop and another group was near the Vizcaya Metrorail stop. Before Quesada stepped in, Martinez said his training had shown him that the best way to help save the man’s life was to talk to him.
“We want to help you, but you have to let us help you,” Martinez told the man.
Quesada referred to the technique as “positive active” negotiation, which took over four hours. The platform was over 40 feet high. It was hot and it rained. But they stood by him.
“Those guys are not here to hurt you; I am not here to hurt you,” Quesada told the man.
Quesada later made him a promise: “I am going to get you the help you need.”
As Quesada talked to him, Martinez said he warned Vieitez to stand ready for an opportunity to safely restrain the man who had lost all hope.
“He is going to give us a chance and we have got to take it,” Martinez said he told Vieitez.
The video shows the man wearing white and yellow patient identification wristbands had willingly walked away from the ledge when Martinez and Vieitez rushed to detain him.
“We actually saw him a few days later,” Quesada said. “He thanked us ad nauseam and I think one of my officers actually bought him lunch.”
Vieitez said he ran into the man who thanked him for saving his life and “it felt good.” Martinez said that unfortunately he recently responded to a call about a man in distress and it was the military veteran again.
Martinez also made him a promise: “I am going to be here as many times as you need me.”
According to the Miami-Dade Police Department, the man was hospitalized to receive mental health treatment.
Watch the video MDPD released on Wednesday
(Over 5 minutes long)