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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Army veteran to file lawsuit against Miami Police

MIAMI (WSVN) – An army veteran who claims he was roughed up by a Miami Police officer a few years ago is outraged after learning an internal affairs investigation has exonerated the officer who took him into custody.

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Though the officer involved in his arrest was cleared of any wrongdoing, a recent report by an independent civilian review panel came to a different conclusion.

On Thursday, Oscar Julien-Riou and his attorney Rawsi Williams said they are moving forward with legal action after the arrest back on Dec. 10, 2018.

“Excessive force, sustained. Unnecessary force, sustained. False arrest, sustained,” said Williams. “The reason we are here is that the police chief, that person who has that ultimate authority to come in and correct a behavior of his officers, has refused to discipline this officer.”

The results from the independent civilian review panel differ from the findings of the Miami Police Department and the State Attorney’s Office.

“The panel believes that the officer was involved in a significant amount of misconduct,” said Rodney Jacobs, a member on the City of Miami’s Civilian Investigative Panel. “We will present those findings and recommendations to the chief of police.”

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Julien-Riou, a U.S. Army veteran and retired nurse, was sitting in Alonzo Kelly Park. He was recording a video as he spoke out loud, to capture his thoughts.

It was just after 7 p.m. when he was approached by a Miami Police officer.

“You know the park is closed at this time, right?” asked the officer.

“Oh, no. Nuh-uh, OK,” replied Julien-Riou.

There were no signs indicating a closing time at the park, but Julien-Riou agreed to leave.

“I live right over here,” he said. “OK, I’ll close up.”

“You have nothing in that hand, right?” asked the officer.

“No. No,” said Julien-Riou.

The officer accused him of throwing something to the ground, and he then took Julien-Riou to the ground.

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“Why are you doing this to me?” Julien-Riou said.

Julien-Riou was arrested for resisting an officer, a charge that has since been dropped.

He said what happened that night continues to haunt him.

“It was uncalled for,” Julien-Riou said. “That really hurt my soul. I really don’t want to say much. Everything has been said.”

Julien-Riou and Williams plan on filing a lawsuit against the city, the police department and the arresting officer next week. They’re also asking the public to reach out to city leaders.

“Let them know that you’re not happy about how they’re operating and treating this Black veteran and tell them that you want discipline instilled against this officer,” said Williams. “We are tired of being mistreated. We are tired of being beaten. We’re tired of being murdered. We’re tired of this. We have had enough. Our Black lives matter.”

7News has reached out to the mayor’s office and the Miami Police Department. A representative for the police department said they do not comment on reports from the civilian investigative panel.

Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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