The bad: This past Monday,
"I lost sleep," Predestin says. "I had chest pains. I couldn't go to work the next day. I was in a state of shock. I was like, 'I was working; I was serving the citizens.' We all work for the government. We all work for the same people, get paid by the same people."
A Miami Police spokesperson, Frederica Burden, did not respond to New Times' email request yesterday afternoon. Both sanitation workers provided video taken during the altercation; New Times sent copies of the video to the police department prior to publication.
Predestin and McCoy say that this past Monday, a Miami traffic cop with the last name Hall pulled their city garbage truck over outside SLAM (Sports Leadership and Management) Charter School, located at 604 NW 12th Ave., after they had a brief misunderstanding with the officer. The two men were not driving but were instead hanging on the back of the truck. The men say the intersection outside the school is part of their regular route — but the cop working the area Monday was new.
Both workers say the cop briefly stopped the garbage truck, and then the truck mistakenly inched forward a bit without Hall's permission. The men say Hall began blowing his whistle and demanding the truck quit moving — and they say the driver simply apologized and said he couldn't hear the officer.
But instead, the two men say, Hall approached the city vehicle and asked the driver for his license.
"He got real offended, like, 'Hey, give me your license! You guys ain't going to work today!'" Predestin says.
The men say they hopped off the back of the truck as the officer pocketed the driver's license and told the truck to sit and wait for ten minutes. In the meantime, Predestin and McCoy say, school buses and other cars honked at the truck, parked in the street. The officer finally ordered the driver to move the truck off the street — and McCoy says the cop put his hands on him to pull him across the road faster.
At this, Predestin says, he called 911, and McCoy called the representative from their union. They then sat on a nearby bus bench.
"We were heated," McCoy says. "I'm not going to lie to you. I was upset." The two men waited until their union representative, Joe Simmons (who declined to speak to New Times last night), and two other cops — a sergeant and a lieutenant — arrived.
"The sergeant came. He was like, 'What are you arresting city employees for?'" McCoy says. But afterward, McCoy says, the cops spoke privately in a "huddle." Officer Hall returned and placed handcuffs on the two workers. Predestin and McCoy say they were forced to sit in the back of a police cruiser "for about an hour."
Hall eventually wrote all three workers up for a moving violation — even though Predestin and McCoy say they weren't driving the city-owned truck. Both men provided copies of the violations: Each was written up for "violation of a traffic control device."
Though McCoy's citation simply reads, "Refused to move out of the roadway after I asked three times," Predestin's traffic fine shows he wasn't driving the truck.
"Asked pedestrian to move off the streets three times he refused," the citation reads. "Refused obedience to police/fire." [sic]
Both men were also issued arrest affidavits, which they also showed New Times. Each was charged with disorderly conduct, disobeying a lawful order, and obstruction.
Hall claimed in his arrest report that the workers stood in the middle of the roadway and refused to move for cars. The cop wrote that Predestin and McCoy "stepped in the middle of heavy traffic" and that he "ordered them to move and they still refused."
But video evidence appears to confirm McCoy and Predestin's side of the story. In a clip the two men provided to New Times, McCoy clearly obeyed the cop's order to move out of the road and stepped back to stand roughly a foot from the sidewalk. In the clip, which does not show the entire encounter, they were not blocking traffic.
"All three of y'all are going to jail," Hall can be heard shouting at the men, who were in no way blocking traffic at the time. "Stay on the sidewalk. You have to stand on the sidewalk." Hall then unbuttons his gun holster but does not remove his weapon. McCoy's blue City of Miami uniform and neon-yellow gloves can be seen in the shot.
"You're holding us up from work," McCoy can be heard shouting.
Both city workers say the arrest felt like a slap in the face — and they're demanding the police apologize.
"It felt like a disgrace to me," McCoy says.
"We don't want this to be swept under the rug," Predestin says. "We want people to know what's going on. I've been doing this 11 years. I've stood up on the podium for saving a little 2-year-old's life. I'm known."
"I would have felt a little different if it was a county cop," McCoy says. "But it was a city cop. We work for the same city."
"Same city!" Predestin responds. "The City of Miami. That's crazy."
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