AVENTURA, Fla. - A police officer is recovering after he was attacked by a man while working an off-duty job at busy shopping center.
Lt. Mike Bentolita was at the Aventura Commons shopping center at NE 211 Street and Biscayne Blvd. about 9 p.m. Thursday when he was asked by managers at the Whole Foods store to ask a suspicious customer to leave.
Police say Jeremy Kasier, 42, attacked the officer when he approached. Surveillance video showed the two men stumble into the parking lot before Kaiser got on top of the officer and started punching him.
Just then, off-duty Miami-Dade County Fire Fighter Regainne Georges was getting out of his car, saw the two men struggling, and raced over to help the officer.
"I remember looking and thinking this guy is gonna need help, and the next thing I know, I was on top of the guy," Georges said.
Georges said he was just walking into Target with his fiancé when he was instinctually called to duty. He said Lt. Bentolita tried to subdue Kaiser with his taser.
"What happened when he tasered him?" Local 10's Roger Lohse asked Georges.
"Absolutely nothing. The guy just rushed like a bull even harder," Georges replied.
Georges said he jumped on top of Kaiser and grabbed his arms. According to the police report, Kaiser was trying to grab the lieutenant's gun when officers arrived.
Police said Kaiser put up quite a fight. He appeared in bond court with multiple abrasions on his face and a big gauze bandage around this head. His injuries caught the attention of the judge.
"Everybody that's charged with battery on a law enforcement officer looks like they've been through war," the judge said.
Lt. Bentolita was also injured. He suffered injuries to his face, hands, head and knee but the way Kaiser was allegedly struggling over the gun, Aventura police acknowledge Georges may have saved his life.
"We could clearly be talking about a whole different story today if that didn't happen," said Sgt. Chris Goranitis.
Georges credits his quick reaction to respond in emergencies to the skills he's learned on the job.
"We work with cops everyday, we run calls, the guys back us up, so it was only right that we get in there and try to help them", Georges said.
Kaiser is charged with four criminal counts including resisting arrest and battery on a law enforcement officer. He's being held on $10,000 bond.
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