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Aventura Police Accused of Beating Up Diabetic Man Who Asked for Help

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The Aventura skyline
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Barry Berler entered an Aventura Police Department station in 2014 to ask for help locating his then-missing sister-in-law. Instead, he says, he wound up beaten, jailed, and in the hospital with serious injuries.

Berler is now suing the department in federal court. In the lawsuit, he claims he and his wife Sally went to Hallandale Beach Police to ask for help locating his wife's sister. Hallandale PD suggested contacting law enforcement officers in Aventura because their loved one had apparently been living at an address in that city.

But when the Berlers arrived at Aventura PD, the pair claims, local officers took the spouses into a room and said they couldn't do anything to help the family. They said Sally's sister seemed to be in Orlando, so Aventura cops couldn't help, and told the Berlers "not to return."

That's when things got hairy. According to a police report attached to the suit, police claim Berler became "irate" and began yelling at officers in a waiting room outside, thus forcing them to arrest him. The Berlers, however, claim that the entire report is bunk and that when they exited the small meeting room where they spoke with Aventura PD, an officer attacked them.

Aventura Police Chief Bryan Pegues did not immediately respond to New Times' request for comment on the lawsuit.

"The plaintiff, Berler, and his wife, exited the room and said thank you," the suit says. "Upon exiting the room with Defendant [Terry] Scott, with no provocation, threat, or basis for any or perceived wrongdoing or criminal action by Plaintiff, the Plaintiff, Berler, was assaulted."

Berler says he was "jumped," "manhandled," shoved to the ground, and then handcuffed. According to the aforementioned police report, he was booked on charges of disorderly conduct and breaching the peace — though all charges were eventually dropped.

Regardless, Berler wound up getting booked and transferred to Miami-Dade County's Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center (TGK). Once he arrived, the suit says, TGK officials noticed Berler was in need of medical care — it turns out Berler is diabetic and, according to the suit, in "immediate need" of medical attention due to having just been allegedly walloped by a bunch of cops. The suit says Aventura officers then took him from TGK to a hospital, where he stayed for two days.

"The medical staff admitted Plaintiff, Berler, into the hospital and documented a litany of serious conditions which were directly attributable and proximately caused by the improper conduct, false arrest, malicious prosecution, and use of excessive force and excessive restraint imposed by the Defendants," the suit reads.

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