Federal Investigator Says Miami Cop Attacked Him

Eugene Davis has no love for the Miami Police Department. "If you're a Miami cop," Davis grouses, "you can pretty much get away with anything." The 38-year-old federal investigator is fuming over the Broward State Attorney's Office decision to drop a misdemeanor battery charge against William Scarola III, a Miami police sergeant Davis accuses of attacking him during a twilight confrontation in Pembroke Pines three years ago.

Scarola denied Davis's allegation through his criminal defense lawyer and former Broward prosecutor Al Milian. "This case should never have been filed," Milian says.

On August 28, 2004, Davis says, he and his wife were on their way to dinner at the now-defunct Dr. Desserts restaurant in Pembroke Pines. As they traveled north on Palm Avenue, an off duty Scarola, in his Miami police cruiser, pulled up behind Davis, swerved around him, and then cut him off. "So I flashed my headlights at him," Davis recalls. "I guess he didn't like that."

According to Davis, Scarola pulled off to the right. "He gets behind me and tailgates me for at least two minutes before making a u-turn," Davis described. He followed Scarola in attempt to obtain the cruiser's unit number. "I wanted to file a complaint against him," Davis attests. "But I don't see him in front of me. Somehow he's behind me again."

Scarola turned on his siren lights. Davis got out of his Acura and approached Scarola. Davis says the sergeant charged him, knocking him backwards. "When I showed him my badge, he told me that it meant nothing to him," Davis says.

Davis claims he escaped Scarola's grip and got back in his car. "He tried to keep me from closing my door," he says. "After the struggle, he followed me with his lights on for several blocks before he kept going south on Palm."

Two days later, Davis and Scarola reported their encounter to their superiors. Davis, a special agent for the U.S. Postal Service's inspector general, took it a step further. He filed a complaint with Miami PD's internal affairs.

On September 19, 2005, the Broward state attorney's office charged Scarola with misdemeanor battery. Scarola has been suspended with pay since November. His trial was set for this past January 29, but Broward deputy chief prosecutor Charles Morton dropped the charge. "Morton cheated me out of my justice," Davis says.

Essentially, the case boiled down to one law enforcement officer's version against that of another cop, Morton explains. "Both of them were off-duty," Morton said. "Both of them were acting and reacting to each other's actions." --Francisco Alvarado

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Frank Houston