Miami, FL — Lowell Poitier Jr., a 35-year old unarmed Black man, was almost thrown to the ground when a police officer punched him in the face during an argument because he apparently felt threatened. A video of the incident was released by a fellow police officer, who is now demanding to be under whistle-blower protection.
In the body cam video of the incident that happened at the Pelican Hotel on December 3, Miami police officer Adriel Dominguez could be seen having a row with Poitier. At first, Poitier appeared to grab something from the top of the menu stand.
Another voice could be heard saying, “Watch yourself bud” repeatedly before Poitier went up to Dominguez and said, “What? What?” That was when Dominguez punched Poitier in the face, knocking him to the floor as another person could be heard laughing in the background.
A copy of the video was obtained by another police officer Frederick Dominguez, who has no relation to the officer who punched Poitier, and passed on to the Miami Herald.
According to the police report, police responded to a call on the hotel after Poitier, who was described as a homeless man who had previous records of non-violent offenses and domestic violence charges, was allegedly acting irate and refusing to leave. He also reportedly called two women “f—– gringas,” a Spanish term for white women.
When the police came, Poitier allegedly called the police “crackers” and “appeared as if he wanted to challenge” the authority of the cop. The police report added that he “clenched his fist, took a fighting stance and leaned into” Adriel Dominguez. Apparently fearing for his safety, he punched Poitier first, leaving a cut on his lip.
Poitier was taken to the hospital thereafter. Even though he was the one who was punched, Poitier was charged with assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest without violence and disorderly conduct. He was eventually released on bond.
Since the incident, Adriel Dominguez, who has been in the department since 2016, has been suspended from patrol duties. Meanwhile, Frederick Dominguez, who has been a police officer for 12 years, is demanding whistle-blower protection.
Michael Pizzi, Frederick Dominguez’s lawyer, said that his client wasn’t at the scene but he decided to release the video publicly because of his concern that authorities have been allowing too aggressive responses to similar incidents.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s outrageous behavior. It’s an assault in broad daylight,” Pizzi said. “He clearly did not take a fighting stance or clench his fist to fight the officer like it says in the report.”
However, the Miami Beach Fraternal Order of Police, Adriel’s union, took sides with Adriel. Its president, Robert Jenkins, said that the “body camera’s footage captured the dangerous confrontation with an agitated, angry and physically aggressive defendant. There is no question officer Dominguez was legally justified and fully entitled to protect himself.”