During a weekend with his son in December 2017, Marshall Younger got into a heated argument with his ex-wife when she showed up at the entrance of his Brickell condo.
Younger's ex flagged down two City of Miami police officers, who happened to be in the area because they'd stopped for Starbucks inside the condo building. The officers separated the pair and told Younger to wait in the lobby.
When Younger walked back outside in search of his son and a backpack he'd left behind, the officers didn't order him to stop or go back inside. Instead, they threw him to the ground, forcefully handcuffed him, and repeatedly hit him, according to a civil lawsuit Younger filed against the City of Miami earlier this month.
"For reasons that remain unclear and unexplained, the police officers handcuffed [Younger] in an unnecessarily rough manner and placed him in the back of a police car," the complaint states. "During this process, the police officers needlessly and violently forced Younger to the ground, face down, and repeatedly struck him in his face and upper body."
Photos taken by the police department show Younger's gray T-shirt and powder-blue shorts speckled with blood. One of his front teeth was broken. He suffered a torn rotator cuff and a torn bicep tendon, which required surgery, the complaint alleges. Younger is seeking unspecified damages and is suing the city on the grounds of false arrest, malicious prosecution, and battery.
The day of the incident, police arrested Younger on misdemeanor charges of battery and criminal mischief and a felony charge of witness tampering. His ex-wife claimed Younger took her cell phone and car keys from her during the argument, preventing her from calling for help or leaving. Additionally, Younger was charged with two felony counts of battery on law enforcement. The two officers on scene, Daniel Cantero and Alexander Terrades, claim he kicked them during the arrest.
Domingo Rodriguez, one of the attorneys representing Younger in the civil suit, says all the charges stemming from the December 2017 arrest were ultimately dropped.
A valet attendant working at the condo building on the day of Younger's arrest said in a witness statement that he didn't see Younger become aggressive toward police. The attendant also described the officers' actions as "brutish" and ruthless.
"Like, no warning. They just went at it," the witness said of the officers.
City of Miami spokeswoman Stephanie Severino told New Times the city can't comment on pending litigation. The Miami Police Department responded likewise. City attorney Victoria Mendez did not respond to an email seeking comment.
Rodriguez and Louis Vucci, the attorneys representing Younger in the lawsuit, say that instead of de-escalating the situation, the two officers committed violence toward their client and then "had the audacity" to charge him with felony battery.
"This is another instance where the police acted aggressively, prematurely, and chose to hide behind their status as police officers by falsely charging our client with a crime that he decidedly did not commit," the lawyers say in a statement to New Times. "Mr. Younger was already vindicated of all criminal charges, and will be vindicated in civil court as well."
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.