Allegations are surfacing that a Miami Beach police officer struck a pair of pedestrians while riding an ATV in Miami Beach.
The Miami Herald reports that a 5-year veteran of the Miami Beach Police Department was riding an ATV along the beach when he struck two people whom he did not see. It is alleged that the officer did not have his lights on.
Now accidents happen. The officer was on ATV patrol because of a recent rash of thefts occuring on the beach. However, what is troubling is that there are allegations that during his shift, the officer had gone to a local bar where he drank and picked up a young lady whom he permitted to ride as a passenger on the back of the ATV.
So when he allegedly struck the two beachgoers, he was possibly operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. It is reported that the two beachgoers were seriously injured. If criminally charged, the officer will face multiple counts of DUI with serious bodily injury, a 3rd degree felony.
While I believe firmly in the presumption of innocence, I do not like stories about police misbehaving. We expect law enforcement officers to be honest, upstanding citizens. Everytime a cop does something this stupid, all of his fellow officers pay for it as their credibility is tarnished.
I have respect for police, but my experience as a criminal defense attorney has taught me that police officers are capable of lying, just like anyone else. Never place a police officer on a pedestal simply because they are a police officer. They are human and capable of mistakes and misdeeds.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office is awaiting the results of the officer's blood test. In any accident where there is seriously bodily injury, blood is taken. If the officer's blood alcohol level is over the legal limit, he will likely be charged with a felony. He may face charges as well, even if his blood-alcohol content is not above the legal limit.
Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney serving Miami-Dade and Broward. Call today to discuss your case.