Andrew Mossberg made a painful mistake two months ago. He thought Miami Beach Police Det. Philippe Archer was a purse snatcher and tried to help the woman he believed was the victim. His thanks? Getting his face obliterated by the cop.
In the early evening of June 26, the 50-year-old audio and video engineer was walking on West Avenue when he saw Archer, dressed in a blue polo shirt and black slacks, screaming and manhandling Megan Adamescu, a 29-year-old model.
"I saw him grab her purse and pull things out of it," Mossberg relays. "When she tried to grab the bag back, he punched her in the face. She fell down, got up, and tried to go for her purse again. He then kicked her legs from underneath her so she would fall down again."
Mossberg, who bought his three bedroom condo at the
Mirador Floridian in 2004 for $439,500 and last year paid $1,317 in property taxes to Miami Beach, alleges Archer was not wearing a police badge or any other ID. So Mossberg called the Miami Beach Police nonemergency number and asked the dispatcher to send units over. "I yelled at him that the police are on their way," Mossberg says. "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."
What he didn't know was that the cop had just thrown Adamescu, who was drunk, out of the South Bay Club condo building.
Adamescu, who sustained a black eye and a head contusion, admits she was heavily intoxicated. But she insists Archer was the aggressor. "I didn't know who he was," she says. "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 claims her injuries were so severe she was unable to work runway shows during Miami Beach swim week in July. "There was no way I was going to walk with all the bruises all over my body," she says. "And I was still in a lot of pain."
The condo's concierge, Adrian Aponte, says the cop did ID himself. "She was passed out on the lobby's sofa," he says of Adamescu. "She was in a very terrible condition."
What is certain is that when Mossberg came to, he found himself under arrest alongside Adamescu for felony battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting an officer with violence, and disorderly conduct. Archer also charged Mossberg with obstructing justice. In arrest reports, Archer claims Mossberg and Adamescu attacked him despite his telling them he was a cop and showing his badge.
The cop, who is black, wrote that Adamescu yelled "fuck you nigger," "became hostile and belligerent," and that she "attempted to snatch her passport out of my hands." Archer alleges he got distracted when Mossberg approached him. That's when Adamescu "slapped me on the left side of the face, knowing that I was a law enforcement officer. I immediately countered with an open hand strike to [the] right side of her face causing her to fall to the ground and hit the back of her head," Archer wrote.
That's when Mossberg "charged me, preparing to attack me," according to the arrest report for the engineer. "I conducted a front kick to his abdomen area, causing him to step back," Archer wrote. "[Mossberg] became enraged and came back at me." So Archer says he kicked Mossberg in the face. The cop clearly got the best of the tussle. "During the violent and physical confrontation, [Mossberg] sustained a laceration to the right side of his head, a left swollen face cheek, and scratches about his arms," Archer wrote.
Archer also claims in Adamescu's arrest report that while he was dealing with Mossberg, another undercover detective arrived at the scene and handcuffed her.
However, Mossberg provided Banana Republican with a copy of a 13-second video clip that shows Archer had subdued both of them before any other officers responded.
A bystander, who did not want to comment, used his cell phone to record the aftermath. Archer is seen pointing at the individual holding the camera, who is overheard saying, "You're a cop, right?"
On August 15, Miami-Dade prosecutors
dropped all the charges against them decided not to file criminal charges against them and the cases were removed from the court docket. UPDATE: A spokesman for the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office says the investigation remains open and charges could be filed at a later date if more evidence is presented by the Miami Beach Police Department.
Miami Beach spokesman Robert Hernandez says Archer and his team were conducting an undercover narcotics investigation in the vicinity of the South Bay Club when he heard the call requesting that patrol units respond to the condo. "Knowing that marked units were en route and could possibly ruin their investigation, Detective Archer responded and advised the marked units to stay out of the area," Hernandez says. "Mr. Mossberg subsequently explained to Detective Archer that he got caught up in the moment and thought she was being robbed because Detective Archer is black and Ms. Adamescu is white."
Hernandez suggests Mossberg should make a complaint to the proper authorities instead of telling his story to the media. "It is strange that this serious allegation of police misconduct is not reported to the Internal Affairs Unit or the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office or the Florida Department of Law Enforcement," Hernandez says. "But yet it is reported to the Miami New Times two months later."
Archer, incidentally, is one of the 12 cops who fired more than 100 deadly rounds at Raymond Herisse on Memorial Day weekend in 2011 and wounded four bystanders in the process. He was also sued three times in 2012 for allegedly abusing his police powers and making false arrests.
Miguel Lawson sued the City of Miami Beach, Archer, as well as cops Neill Fagan and Mishart Torres in Miami federal court, claiming the trio deprived him of his civil rights when they arrested him June 18, 2008. In the suit, Lawson alleges a manager at Ocean Drive bar Mango's flagged down the Miami Beach cops and told them Lawson "was not wanted on the premises."
Lawson accuses the cops of grabbing him so forcefully that his shirt ripped. Although no criminal act was committed in their presence, the officers handcuffed Lawson, arrested him, and threw him in the back of a police vehicle, which took him to jail, the complaint alleges. The charges against Lawson were dismissed when he made his first appearance before a judge the morning following his arrest. The complaint was dismissed in December 2012.
On February 13, 2012, Andres Duquense sued the city, Archer, and two other cops for allegedly violating his Fourth Amendment rights, falsely arresting him, as well as malicious proseuction and negligence. Duquense claims Archer, who allegedly wore regular clothes and was not wearing any police identification or his gun, accosted him on Washington Avenue. The complaint alleges Duquense assumed Archer was trying to steal his bottle of beer and told the undercover detective to get lost.
Duquense was later stopped, frisked, and arrested by one of Archer's colleagues in an alley between Washinton and Collins avenues. While Duquense was in the back seat of an unmarked police car, Archer and two other detectives took turns punching the man in the face. He suffered a swollen eye, a busted lip, and lacerations on his face. Archer charged Duquense with battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest without violence, cocaine possession, and drinking in public.
After Duquense spent 340 days in jail because he couldn't bond out, prosecutors dropped all the charges January 22, 2009, the second day of his trial. Archer and the two other cops failed to show up to testify against him. On October 25 of last year, Duquense and the city settled for an undisclosed amount, and the complaint was dismissed.
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In Miami-Dade Circuit Court, Guy Sabine Moulin and his son Mayeul Moulin sued the cities of Miami Beach and Hialeah and four police officers, alleging false arrest, battery, and civil rights violations in August 2012. Archer is one the cops the Moulins allege attacked and accosted them August 8, 2008, without identifying himself as a police officer and without any probable cause that the Moulins had committed or were in the process of committing any crime. Archer and his boys mistook Guy and Mayeul for a pair of drug suspects they were looking for. The lawsuit is still pending.
Last August, while reporting about the Moulins' lawsuit, the blog Random Pixels noted that Archer boasted on his Linkedin profile: "Work on South Beach (Miami Beach, Fl.) as a Gang Detective. Trust me when I tell you, it definitely gets crazy down here!!!"
Follow Francisco Alvarado on Twitter: @thefrankness.