Miami Beach Cop Suspended for Punching Good Samaritan in Head

Andrew Mossberg was walking back to his condo in South Beach when he saw a disturbing scene: A muscular man was grappling with a thin woman, punching her and grabbing items from her purse. Naturally, Mossberg assumed it was a mugging in progress and called 911. That's when the man charged at him, hitting him repeatedly in the head. When the dust cleared, though, Mossberg was stunned to find himself in handcuffs — and shocked to learn that the aggressor was no criminal, but rather a Miami Beach cop.

Now, two years later, the officer involved, Det. Philippe Archer, has been suspended 160 hours for excessive force and other department violations.

Update: A Miami Beach spokesman says those violations stem from Archer's actions after his encounter with Archer, back at the police station. We will update this post when more information becomes available. 

"Officer Archer was found to have violated several Department and City rule violations, including excessive use of force, mistreatment of a prisoner, conduct unbecoming an employee of the city, and negligence and inefficiency in the performance of his duties," Ernesto Rodriguez, an MBPD spokesman, tells New Times.

The suspension comes nearly two years after the encounter between Mossberg and Archer on West Avenue. The scene began June 26, 2013 when Archer was on an undercover narcotics stakeout near the South Bay Club.

Archer responded to a call from the condo's lobby, where a 29-year-old model was allegedly drunk and passed out. The two scuffled, with the altercation spilling out onto the sidewalk. That's when Mossberg, an audio engineer, spotted the fight and called police, thinking Archer was robbing the young woman.

"I yelled at him that the police are on their way," Mossberg told New Times in 2013. "That's when he ran at me, kicked me once in the left side of the head, then kicked me again in the forehead, and punched me twice." A bystander caught the aftermath on tape, as Mossberg rolls on the ground in pain:

The model, Megan Adamescu, says she was also battered by the cop, suffering a black eye and a head contusion. She told New Times that Archer never ID'ed himself as a cop. "He definitely didn't show me a badge. All of sudden he's coming at me like a raging lunatic, grabbing my purse. I was freaking out," she said in 2013.

Archer was initially suspended without pay in September 2013 as investigators looked into Mossberg and Adamescu's complaints. Prosecutors and Internal Affairs investigators cleared Archer of wrongdoing during the encounter on the street.

But separate allegations about abuse back at the police station lead to Archer's suspension on Friday.

Archer — who was also one of 12 cops who shot and killed Raymond Herisse in an infamous 2011 Memorial Day shooting — will now be suspended 160 hours.
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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink