UPDATE: Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione has finally chimed in to clarify his department's handling of the incident in which former Georgia officer John Kiernan punched a hotel valet because he didn't want to pay for parking last week.
Kiernan was not arrested immediately following the assault, but Maglione said that he should be prosecuted for his actions.
“Regarding this particular case: The suspect is identified and should be prosecuted … If the officer makes the determination not to make an immediate arrest on the scene, that in no way means a suspect cannot be prosecuted," Maglione said in a statement, according to WSVN 7News.
Although Maglione offered this insight, the case now rests in the hands of the State Attorney's Office as they will decide whether to bring criminal charges against Kiernan.
“Generally speaking, the police department does not conduct follow-up investigations on misdemeanor crimes but did so on this case due to the egregious and allegedly unprovoked nature of this attack,” Maglione also noted in his statement.
As of now, it appears Kiernan is still a free man, but hopefully the State Attorney's office will take heed to Magione's recommendation and move forward with prosecuting Kiernan. He needs to be reminded that he can't go around assaulting people and just get away with it.
With each incident of police officers abusing their power and suffering no consequences, it becomes more clear that a badge is a "get out of jail free card."
The same rings true in the case of former cop John Kiernan, 37, who was accused of assaulting a valet attendant in Florida at Ocean Sky Hotel & Resort, according to CBS News. However, he was not arrested for his actions.
The hotel manager, Nigel Blair, said that in his 30 years of working in hotels, he’s seen authorities arrest guests on the spot for much less violent offenses.
"I have seen them arrest people for just touching someone," Blair reportedly said.
The 28-year-old valet attendant, Rodolfo Rodriguez, told reporters that he was not a threat to Kiernan, and he wants to see him arrested for punching him in the jaw and knocking him out.
"He's dangerous for a lot of people," Rodriguez said.
Video footage from the hotel security camera shows Kiernan walking around his truck — which had his wife and children inside of it — and over to Rodriguez, whose hands were in his pockets.
After the two men exchanged words, Kiernan suddenly punched Rodriguez in the face.
Rodriguez dropped face down on the pavement, and Kiernan proceeded to pin his arms behind his back until a woman intervened. The video has no audio, so it’s unclear what words were exchanged, but regardless, there are very few justifiable reasons to physically assault someone who is posing no threat to you.
Police Spokeswoman Detective Tracy Figone defended the police department’s failure to arrest Kiernan by maintaining that the investigation is still ongoing. She also claimed that the video footage wasn’t initially available to officers, and the lead investigating officer was unaware that Kiernan was a former cop.
"The officer had no knowledge of what his past or present job was. It had absolutely nothing to do with this investigation," she said.
Police records indicate that Kiernan told Officer John Czech that Rodriguez said, “You're just looking to fight,” which he apparently took as a threat.
"Kiernan said his life experience taught him this was an aggressive statement and he chose to hit the guy first,” Czech wrote in his report.
Kiernan was reportedly a cop in Georgia for 10 years before he moved to Florida, and his previous training was triggered by Rodriguez’s so-called threatening remarks.
"I guess he finally got irritated and looked at me and said you are going to fight me," Kiernan told reporters. "Based on his body language and the way he spoke to me, I did feel he was going to go to physical contact. I didn't know if he had a weapon on him. As soon as he said that, I struck him."
Kiernan's story doesn't quite add up. If Rodriguez told him, "You're just looking to fight," that would imply that Kiernan was the one being confrontational and aggressive, which prompted the valet to make that statement.
Furthermore, the video footage shows Rodriguez standing relaxed with his hands at his sides and in his pockets in the moments before being punched. Since when is that considered threatening body language?
Nevertheless, regardless of Kiernan's fishy excuse for the assault, the local police have no valid reason for why they didn't arrest him immediately at the scene, especially when civilians are taken into custody day in and day out for much less.
Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Bastique