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MIAMI (CN) - Miami Beach police beat up two French tourists, a father and son, then threw the father in jail for six days, say the two men in court.
The tourists say the plainclothes officers never identified themselves as police until they had thoroughly beaten the bewildered Frenchmen.
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.
The father claims he was at South Beach and left his two ons to wait for him on a bench while he went to pay for parking. When he returned, he says, his eldest son was being strangled and beaten by four men.
Moulin says he jumped in to protect his son, and the men beat him too. The father says he was treated for injuries to his face and was jailed for six days, and his son was held overnight at a juvenile detention center.
"On or about August 8, 2008, plaintiff Guy Sabine Moulin and his two sons Mayeul Moulin (17) and Joris Moulin (13) were in the City of Miami, Florida on a family vacation when they went to Miami Beach for dinner at a restaurant on South Beach," according to the complaint.
"In the area of Collins Avenue and 12 Street on Miami Beach, Guy parked his rental car in an empty parking space and along with his two sons, exited the vehicle. As Guy attempted to insert money into the parking meter or machine he noticed that same was not working. So Guy and his two sons walked from the location of the parked his car to another meter where Guy obtained a parking ticket to place on the vehicle dashboard. At that point, Guy walked back to his car while Mayeul Moulin and Joris remained sitting on a bench next to Collins Avenue.
"During this time, detectives [Philippe] Archer, [Ricardo] Fernandez, [Elton] Dorsey, and [Gordon] Spitler were patrolling the South Beach area undercover and in plain clothes some distance away from where Mayeul and Joris were sitting when they claim that an unknown, unidentifiable passerby told then two or three males were acting suspicious and might be involved in drug-related activity.
"None of the detectives knew the individual who gave them this information nor does anyone recall this individual giving them this type of information before. Additionally, detectives were not dressed in a way in which a passerby from the street could just walk up and know that they were police detectives.
"None of the detectives observed the individual in question identify Mayuel and Joris as the individuals he claimed were acting suspiciously.
"Based on this scant information from an unknown passerby and without observing any suspicious behavior from Mayeul or Joris, defendants Archer, Fernandez, Dorsey and Spitler attacked and accosted Mayeul without identifying themselves as police officers and without any probable cause whatsoever that Mayeul had committed or was in the process of committing any crime whatsoever.
"Guy was at the parked car, placing his parking ticket on the driver side dashboard, when he noticed the four men strangling his son, Mayeul. Guy ran to his son's aide, at which point one of the four officers struck him in the face. Thereafter, Guy was physically attacked and repeatedly struck in the face by more than one of the officers. It was not until after Guy was struck in the face several times that the officers identified themselves as police to which Guy replied that he was a French tourist.
"After the detectives handcuffed Mayeul and Guy, they were able to confirm that neither, Mayeul, nor Guy, were involved in any criminal or drug related activity. They were further able to confirm that Guy was Mayeul's father and that he was merely defending his son from what he believed to be the attack of four unknown males. Yet they arrested both and caused them to be transported to jail and the juvenile detention center, respectively.
"Defendants Archer, Fernandez, Dorsey and Spitler, at the conclusion of the struggle, handcuffed and arrested Mayeul for resisting arrest without violence, despite the fact that there was no indication whatsoever of any crime or arrestable offense that had been committed by Mayeul. Mayeul was transported to the juvenile detention center in Miami Dade County, Florida, where he was released twenty-four hours later.
"Mayeul was either never charged formally or the charges were dropped without the need of a court appearance.
"Defendants Archer, Fernandez, Dorsey and Spitler, also handcuffed Guy at the end of the struggle. Defendants arrested him for the charges of battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest with violence, despite the fact that the officers had initiated the violence by attacking his minor son, Mayeul without any reason or provocation; and despite the fact that it was clear to the defendants that Guy did not know that they were police detectives until he was in handcuffs.
"In the process of arresting Mayeul and Guy without probable cause, the officers used excessive force.
"As a result of the excessive force used by the four individual defendants in Guy, he suffered lacerations about his face, requiring medical treatment. Guy was arrested and transported to the Dade County Jail, ultimately where he spent six days until he was released on bond," the complaint states.
The Moulins are represented by Raul Lopez, of Miami Lakes.