A French tourist and his son this week sued the Hialeah and Miami Beach police departments for brutality and what they alleged was an attempt to cover up a case of mistaken identity!
Guy Moulin, 54, a car electrician based in the French Antilles island of Guadeloupe, says he’d just flown to Miami for a two-week vacation in August 2008 when he took his two sons, then 11 and 17, to Miami Beach for dinner.
While he parked his car at 12th and Collins and bought a parking slip, Moulin said he saw four men wrestling his sons to the ground.
When he intervened, Moulin says he received the beat down of a lifetime!
In time, he found out the attackers were plain-clothed cops — but what happened next could make Moulin and his son Mayeul rich!
“I don’t speak English,” Moulin said by telephone Friday. “I started waving my passport. For that, I got hit in the eye and everywhere else.”
Even worse: After he and his 17-year-old son were cuffed, says Moulin, the cops sent his 11-year-old on his way – alone, with no money, in a foreign city he’d never been and where he couldn’t make himself understood!
“My boy wandered the streets for two hours before a Haitian cab driver took him to our hotel (a Hilton in Miami, 10 miles away),” Moulin said. “I was totally helpless. There was nothing I could do.”
While older son Mayeul was kept overnight in a juvenile jail and released without being charged, cops threw the book at Guy Moulin.
Records show he was charged with four felonies, including battery on a police officer and resisting arrest with violence.
At least, Moulin said, he convinced the officers to return to the scene to seach for the then-11-year-old Joris but they returned to headquarters without finding him.
Moulin remained in jail for four days before he was able to make $75,000-bail.
The Moulins’ civil lawyer, meanwhile, says they are suing because the four officers pursued the case even though they knew they’d make a mistake.
The three cops from Hialeah and one from Miami Beach jointly worked an anti-gang operation that night. Attorney Raul Lopez says the officers claimed an informant came to them on the street and reported that the Moulin boys were selling drug from a street bench.
What informant? The cops don’t remember his name!
“The problem is that the officers can’t identify their informant,” Lopez said. “We’re not sure there even was an informant.”
Lopez said the cops — Hialeah’s Ricardo Fernandez, Elton Dorsey and Gordon Spitler, and MBPD’s Philippe Archer — eventually figured out they made a mistake but still made sure the elder Moulin would remain in custody for a few days.
“This is just not good for tourism,” Lopez said. “This is where we show our uglier side and jumped to conclusions on insufficient evidence. The officers made things worse by arresting people they were supposed to protect.”
Guy Moulin had to return three times to Miami as his criminal case moved through the system. It was dropped by prosecutors in March 2010.
What does Guy Moulin want now?
“I want for the police never to treat anyone like this again,” he said. “And of course, this thing has cost me a tons of money in medical bills and constant traveling back and forth.”
No comment from the police departments.