Wednesday, October 4, 2023
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Music Producer Says Cop Got Out of Hand

(CN) - A music business entrepreneur claims in court that he was wrongly threatened and arrested by a police lieutenant with an alleged mental disability during a popular Miami street festival.

In a complaint filed in Miami-Dade County circuit court, David Schlessinger, a Chicago resident, says he owns and operates several businesses, and has been producing concerts, television and musical events with major artists since 1991.

On March 10th 2013, Schlessinger attended the "Calle Ocho" festival in Miami to promote his company Chitown Entertaiment LLC. Plaintiff claims that he has worked many times with the radio station 103.5 The Beat Miami, and during the festival he and his associates attempted to visit its stage.

According to the complaint, Schlessinger and his party were denied access to the stage area even though he showed the security personnel his credentials from the last BET Hip Hop Awards show he attended, told them that he was a producer and that he had worked with the radio station in the past.

Schlessinger admits he was upset by the inconvenience, and told his associates "that the securities were acting like idiots," but says in no way did he incite John Doe, a security guard who overheard the comment, to come after him and instigate a fight.

Schlessinger says after the altercation, he sought assistance from defendant Officer Walter Sarriafore, who was standing next to his police vehicle about 30 feet away from where the fight occurred.

"Doe quickly fled back into the stage area behind the barricade," the complaint says.

The plaintiff claims that he explained what had happened to Sarriafore, and told him that his three associates along with other numerous people in the crowd were witnesses; however, he says, the police officer refused to conduct an investigation and did not want to give him a police report.

"Sarriafore advised the plaintiff that since it was a simple assault that he did not witness, he would not provide him with a police report," the complaint states.

Schlessinger criticized Sarriafore's actions in front of the crowd and requested to speak to his supervisor. Instead of giving him the police report, plaintiff says that Sarriafore instructed him to talk to a nearby police lieutenant, Alejandro Oliva.

Oliva then approached Officer Sarriafore and asked him to write a police report for plaintiff. Sarriafore had no choice than to obey his supervisor, and asked plaintiff for his identification and to describe the person who had assaulted him.

Plaintiff claims that Sarriafore looked for Doe, and asked him for his identification.

"Doe stated to Sarriafore that plaintiff was denied access to the stage area because he did not have the required credentials, and then plaintiff left. Doe also denied assaulting plaintiff," the complaint says.

Schlessinger says Sarriafore stepped away for a few minutes and brought Lieutenant Jeffrey Locke to the scene. Locke allegedly confronted plaintiff, yelled directly into his face, and demanded that the plaintiff "look into my eyes when I am talking to you."

Plaintiff told Locke that many persons witnessed the incident, and he requested an investigation. In spite of his requests, plaintiff says that Locke forcibly grabbed his credentials from his neck, accused him of providing false identification and threatened him. Then he told plaintiff that he was under arrest for being "fucking stupid."

Plaintiff says Locke ordered Officer Sarriafore to "put him in cuffs, arrest him, and put my name in the police report."

According to the complaint, Locke and Sarriafore produced an arrest affidavit with false information regarding the accident, and despite of Schlessinger's assertion that they never conducted an investigation.

The plaintiff says he suffered a panic attack, and he was not given any aid for it. He was released from the Dade County jail after 19 hours in custody, and all charges against him were dropped, the complaint says.

In the complaint, Schlessinger repeatedly asserts that Lieutenant Locke suffers from a "permanent cognitive brain disability," and that his aggressive behavior at the time of the arrest showed that he was emotionally disturbed.

Schlessinger claims Locke's mental condition has been the cause of many substantiated violations and complaints against him for several decades during his service, but the City and its officials continue to defend and justify his actions.

He seeks compensatory and punitive damages on claims the officers violated his 1st and 4th Amendment rights.

Schlessinger is represented by John De Leon from Chavez & De Leon P.A. of Miami, Fla.

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