By the time George Miyares was hired as a police officer for the Village of Biscayne Park in March 2013, he'd been rejected by nine other law enforcement agencies across South Florida, a recently filed federal lawsuit alleges.
He'd been trying to land a job as a cop for seven years but was allegedly turned down repeatedly after failing background checks, polygraph exams, and psychological examinations. He found work as a Miami-Dade County corrections officer, where, according to the lawsuit, he used excessive force against inmates on three occasions and ran into trouble with the county for impersonating a police officer and brandishing a gun.
Nine months after the Village of Biscayne Park gave him his dream job, Miyares, despite being off-duty and driving his private car out of his jurisdiction, made a traffic stop. After showing the vehicle's occupants his department-issued badge and gun, he detained and then "brutalized them," including breaking bones in one man's face, the lawsuit claims.
The driver and passenger, Dennis Rosario and Reinaldo Nieves, are suing Miyares for battery and false arrest. They're also suing Biscayne Park for negligence because the village hired him despite obvious red flags.
"A reasonable investigation would have revealed the unsuitability of Miyares to be a police officer," the lawsuit says.
The encounter between Miyares and Rosario and Nieves happened December 29, 2013, in the city of Miami. Rosario and Nieves complied with Miyares after he showed them his Village of Biscayne Park Police badge and weapon, the lawsuit says. He then detained the two while waiting for an officer from the Miami Police Department to arrive.
While Rosario was handcuffed, the suit claims, Miyares "smashed his face into the sidewalk." The men were then arrested and taken to jail on felony charges — Rosario for battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting an officer with violence, and Nieves, who had a concealed weapons permit, for aggravated assault with a firearm and resisting an officer with violence. Rosario lost his job as a chief mechanic for American Airlines, as well as his security clearance.
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In February 2015, a little more than a year into the ordeal, all charges against the two were dismissed.
In court filings, the village has denied Rosario and Nieves' account of what happened and defended its hiring practices, arguing the city can't be held liable for Miyares' actions because he was acting as a private citizen, not its employee, during the traffic altercation.
Even if he were on-duty, the village's attorneys wrote, his use of force was justified and any injuries Rosario and Nieves suffered occurred while they were committing a crime.
"Plaintiffs assumed the risk of any and all injury by their aggressive, intentional, willful, and criminal actions," an attorney for Biscayne Park wrote in an answer to the complaint.