Lawsuit: MDPD Cops Out for Revenge Beat Up Wrong Guy

Lawsuit: MDPD Cops Out for Revenge Beat Up Wrong Guy
Miami-Dade County Police Department
Miami-Dade County Police Department
The Miami-Dade Police handbook presumably does not authorize random joyrides to commit revenge beatings. In fact, that's an idea so boneheaded it sounds like a technique Tammany Hall cops used during the 1863 New York City draft riots.

But according to a lawsuit filed in federal court last week, a group of Miami-Dade County Police officers tried to locate a random guy who drove too close to a cop car in 2013, found the wrong dude instead, and succeeded in beating that man to a pulp and sending him to Jackson Memorial Hospital.

According to the suit, Miamian Kelsie Lordeus says that on December 1, 2013, his wife called to tell him she had run out of gas with their young children in the car. Being a reasonable husband, Lordeus grabbed a gas can from his home and headed out to meet his wife. He was holding the can in his front yard when, he says, two MDPD cops screeched up in a cruiser and walked onto his lawn unannounced.

The cops, Officers Lazaro Torres and Estrella Brutto, ordered Lordeus to get on the ground and then cuffed his hands behind his back, the suit says.

Then, Lordeus says, the beating began.

"While on the ground and handcuffed, the officers proceeded to kick him about his person while yelling expletive language such as 'asshole,'" the suit says. For some reason, a second, unmarked cop car arrived; the suit says that officer ran up to Lordeus, who was still on the ground, and shouted, "You want to hit a cop?"

It turns out the officers were trying to hunt down someone who'd nearly hit them while driving. But Lordeus says it wasn't him.

"Even if the Plaintiff had almost hit the officers with his car, their use of force... was unjustified and illegal," the suit says.

Representatives for Miami-Dade Police did not respond to New Times' request for comment. The department typically does not comment on pending litigation.

It's been a bad few months of PR for the county cops: In the past six months, MDPD cops have been filmed dropping a legless woman on the ground, sued for dumping a blind man on an unlit road, and tied up in a strange investigation after North Miami Beach officers shot a 20-year-old suspect and then dawdled for days to release information about the shooting.

Regardless, this week's suit says the cops kept hitting Lordeus, who was also "kicked under his car" and then picked up and elbowed in the face. Some neighbors witnessed the commotion and called Lordeus' wife, who eventually found a way home with their children.

But for some reason, the suit says the cops arrested her too — and threw her by her neck into a police cruiser. Lordeus' brother "was able to take pictures with his cellular telephone, but the officers took his phone by force and without permission and erased the evidence captured on the phone," the suit says.

Instead of calling medical support to attend to a bloodied Lordeus, the suit says, the cops drove him to the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center, where he was eventually charged with aggravated assault on a police officer. But when Lordeus arrived, the suit says, employees at the center were so incensed by his condition that they refused to accept him and called paramedics. Lordeus was then transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where doctors attended to "bleeding and injuries" to Lordeus' "jaw, face, lips, chest, arms, legs, and testicles."

The county State Attorney's Office eventually dropped its charges against Lordeus, who was arrested twice in the past on drug charges that were both also dropped. (Prosecutors ultimately dropped charges against Lordeus' wife too.)

Now that his injuries have healed, Lordeus is suing the cops involved, as well as MDPD Director Juan Perez, for excessive force. He's also suing Perez for negligence, although Perez didn't take over as chief until 2016.
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Jerry Iannelli is a former staff writer for Miami New Times from 2015 to March 2020. He graduated with honors from Temple University. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.