ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
88°
Partly Cloudy
H 92° L 77°
  • cloudy-day
    88°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 92° L 77°
  • cloudy-day
    78°
    Morning
    Partly Cloudy. H 92° L 77°
  • cloudy-day
    90°
    Afternoon
    Partly Cloudy. H 93° L 77°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest newscast

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

National
Watch: Florida officer shoves handcuffed man face-first into concrete wall
Close

Watch: Florida officer shoves handcuffed man face-first into concrete wall

SEE: Florida officer shoves man into concrete wall

Watch: Florida officer shoves handcuffed man face-first into concrete wall

A Florida police officer is facing criminal charges after surveillance footage appeared to show him shove a handcuffed inmate face-first into a concrete wall, causing blood to pour from the man’s face.

Homestead reserve police Officer Lester Brown, 51, turned himself in Aug. 7 on charges of felony battery and official misconduct, according to WPLG Local 10 in Pembroke ParkThe Miami Herald reported Brown has served as a booking officer for the Homestead police force since November 2007.

“Officer Brown’s actions were not only improper, but they were crimes,” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said during a news conference last week.

The incident for which Brown is charged took place Dec. 1, when a homeless, undocumented migrant worker, Jose Trinidad Garcia Alvarado, 50, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest without violence. WPLG Local 10 reported Garcia had broken the window of a home.

Video released by Rundle’s office shows a shirtless Garcia being led into the Homestead substation by five officers, including Brown, who is wearing blue latex-type gloves. Brown leads Garcia, who appears to be talking or arguing with the officers, into the booking area.

Watch the footage from the Miami-Dade State Attorney Office below, courtesy of WPLG Local 10. Warning: The video may be disturbing to some viewers.

The footage switches to the camera in the booking room, where Garcia continues to speak to the officers standing behind him.

At no time does Garcia appear to make threatening moves or gestures toward the officers.

When he turns his head toward Brown, the officer appears to grab Garcia’s right shoulder and, in one quick movement, spin him toward the wall and shove him violently into the concrete.

The video shows a dazed Garcia fall to the floor and, as Brown moves over him, blood starts to pour from a gash above his left eye. The Herald reported the cut on Garcia's head had to be closed with surgical glue.

Rundle said within minutes, the incident was brought to the attention of Homestead police Chief Alexander Rolle, who then turned the case over to her office.

“Homestead is a small department, a small community, but we’re not going to tolerate this kind of behavior from our police officers,” Rolle said. “We never have and we never will.”

Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office
Lester Brown, a reserve officer in Homestead, Florida, was charged Aug. 7, 2019, with felony battery and official misconduct after footage caught him shoving a handcuffed inmate face-first into a concrete wall in the booking area of the jail.
Close

Lester Brown, a reserve officer in Homestead, Florida, was charged Aug. 7, 2019, with felony battery and official misconduct after footage caught him shoving a handcuffed inmate face-first into a concrete wall in the booking area of the jail.

Photo Credit: Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office
Lester Brown, a reserve officer in Homestead, Florida, was charged Aug. 7, 2019, with felony battery and official misconduct after footage caught him shoving a handcuffed inmate face-first into a concrete wall in the booking area of the jail.

Rundle said last week that Brown lied in his written report about the incident. According to WPLG Local 10, the officer wrote that he “heard a commotion” and found Garcia trying to attack his fellow officers.

Brown claimed he grabbed Garcia’s forearms to “guide him” but that the inmate pushed back in an attempt to attack the officers. He wrote that Garcia fell forward into the wall.

“We believe that the video evidence does not support Officer Brown’s written account that Garcia attempted to attack the officers,” Rundle said, according to the news station. “We believe, as do the police officers and the police chief, that the video evidence does not support the Garcia struggle with Officer Lester Brown by pushing on him or that Garcia was injured by falling forward into the wall.

“There’s no question that Officer Brown’s initial actions resulted in the injury of Mr. Garcia.”

Rolle said Brown was immediately relieved of duty following the incident.

The Herald reported it took several months for authorities to file criminal charges against Brown because Garcia was difficult to locate. He has since returned to the Miami-Dade area and is cooperating with authorities.

Rolle said Garcia’s legal status is not pertinent to the case against Brown.

“He’s a human being first,” Rolle said, according to the Herald.

>> Read more trending news 

Brown’s lawyer, C. Michael Cornely, told the Herald the case against his client is political.

“I think the case is totally overcharged, which seems to be the mantra of the State Attorney’s Office these days,” Cornely said.

Brown is the latest in a string of officers in Miami-Dade County who have been charged in connection with alleged violence against handcuffed suspects. Three Miami-Dade officers are currently awaiting trial in separate cases.

Miami Officer Mario Figueroa was accused of kicking a handcuffed suspect but was acquitted of wrongdoing in April, the Herald reported.

Former Miami Officer Lester Bohnenblust was convicted earlier this summer of throwing a Jackson Memorial Hospital nursing supervisor to the floor during a confrontation about Bohnenblust’s niece, who had been discharged the day before from the behavioral health unit, the newspaper reported. Bohnenblust, 51, was sentenced to 45 days in jail and lost his job.

Watch footage below of Brown shoving and slapping a handcuffed woman in 2016, courtesy of CBS Miami. Warning: Brown uses explicit language in the video.

Brown is no stranger to claims of excessive force.

According to the Herald, Brown in September 2016 was accused of slapping a handcuffed, seated woman inside the police station, claiming she was about to headbutt him.

As in the Garcia case, surveillance footage “did not capture any threatening moves” by the woman, according to court documents obtained by the newspaper. CBS Miami reported that Rundle's office declined to file charges against Brown in that case.

Though Homestead police officials fired Brown, he got his job back through the arbitration process. He served an eight-month suspension instead, the Herald said.

Brown is currently suing the city of Homestead for discrimination, claiming he has been passed over for a promotion to patrol officer for several years.

His suit alleges he has been looked over because of two missing fingers on his left hand, the Herald reported.

Read More

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • Officials are investigating after an explicit video was shared “inadvertently and unknowingly” from a Mississippi teacher’s phone, authorities said. >> Read more trending news  According to a statement from Horn Lake police, the department received information regarding the video Wednesday.  DeSoto County Schools are conducting an investigation into the video, which reportedly showed explicit content of a teacher in the district. Police said if there was a “criminal element regarding the release of the video,” Horn Lake officers will then initiate a full investigation. School officials have not identified the teacher who was seen in the video, and the contents of the video have not been released at this time. The school district did confirm to WHBQ that the teacher involved is no longer an employee there. Again, officials told WHBQ that the video was shared without the teacher’s knowledge.
  • This is a timely update to “Watching Tropical Depression Five’s path,” published August 24 at 3:39pm Tropical Depression Five has gained enough strength to become Tropical Storm Dorian, the National Hurricane Center announced Saturday evening. Dorian is the fourth tropical storm of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season. NHC Forecasters say it could turn into a hurricane by Thursday, August 29. Forecast cone as of 8/24/2019, courtesy of the National Hurricane Center (above)  Current models show a possibility that Dorian could strengthen even further after entering the Caribbean, impacting Puerto Rico and surrounding islands as a hurricane. In the same amount of time, while Dorian is still expected to gain strength as it passes over those warmer waters, there’s also a chance that it won’t amount to much more than heavy rain and winds. The NHC has issued two advisory points at the time of this report: 1. Dorian is forecast to strengthen and could be near hurricane strength when it approaches the Lesser Antilles on Tuesday (August 27). 2. It is too soon to determine the specific timing or magnitude of impacts in the Lesser Antilles, but tropical storm or hurricane watches may be needed for a portion of the area on Sunday (August 25). We’re still days away from learning what will be the case, so we’ll keep an eye on the tropics. While you’re here, check out our hurricane guide.
  • The Groveland Police Department said a pilot is dead after a plane crashed Friday morning. Police went to the crash site after the small two-seat ultralight plane went down near Sorrel Way and Homestead Drive around 11:15 a.m. The pilot was the only one on board the aircraft, according to police. Officials said the plane came from the Florida Flying Gators Airpark at 10817 Libby Road. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the scene.
  • Health officials in Illinois said Friday that a person who was hospitalized with lung problems after vaping has died in what might be the first death linked to e-cigarettes and similar devices in the United States. >> Read more trending news  The Illinois Department of Public Health said in a statement that the unidentified individual, who was between 17 and 38 years old, had been hospitalized with a severe respiratory illness shortly after vaping. 'The severity of illness people are experiencing is alarming and we must get the word out that using e-cigarettes and vaping can be dangerous,' Illinois Department of Public Health Director Ngozi Ezike said Friday. In Illinois alone, health officials said at least 22 people between the ages of 17 and 38 have experienced respiratory illnesses after vaping. Officials with the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention arrived Tuesday in Illinois to help state health officials investigate, Ezike said. In a statement released Wednesday, officials with the CDC said that between June 28 and Aug. 20, nearly 150 cases of severe lung illnesses linked to e-cigarettes were reported in 15 states. Health officials continue to investigate the illnesses. According to the CDC, no specific product or compound has been linked to all of the cases and it remained unclear Friday whether the cases shared a common cause. Poison control officials have been concerned about exposure to vaping products, including e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine, in recent years due to the high concentration of nicotine when compared with other tobacco products, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Association officials said that as of July 31, poison control centers have managed 2,439 cases connected to e-cigarette devices and liquid nicotine this year. Last year, officials fielded 2,470 such cases, according to figures from the association.
  • Officials have put a name to a woman whose skeletal remains were found off a Louisiana highway nearly 39 years ago, and two men have been charged with killing her. Leo Laird, 64, and Gary Joseph Haymon, 54, both of Oakdale, have been charged with first-degree murder, first-degree rape and aggravated kidnapping, according to the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office. Laird was arrested Aug. 14 on the charges and is being held in lieu of $1 million bond on the kidnapping and rape charges. There is no bail on the murder charge, jail records show. Haymon is currently serving a 49-year prison sentence for kidnapping, robbery and public bribery. Sheriff’s Office officials said in a news release that arrangements have been made to transfer him from the Avoyelles Correctional Center in Cottonport to Rapides Parish to face the new charges. Laird and Haymon are accused of killing Donna Gayle Brazzell, 18, whose remains were found Nov. 5, 1980, in a wooded area off Louisiana Highway 28 West near Gardner. Brazzell had been living in the Alexandria and Pineville areas at the time of her death, authorities said. Rapides Parish Sheriff William Earl Hilton told the Town Talk in Alexandria that a man was rabbit hunting with his beagles when one of the dogs began baying. The hunter initially thought a rabbit had grabbed the dog’s attention. “He went over there, and it was a skull,” Hilton told the newspaper. A pair of socks and a clump of hair were found with the bones, the sheriff said. >> Read more trending news  Though it took nearly four decades to identify Brazzell and her alleged killers, Hilton said she was never forgotten. Hilton was the lead detective assigned to the case in 1980 when the bones were discovered. “These cases never, ever leave a policeman’s mind,” Hilton told KALB in Alexandria. 'They prey on you all the time. Especially cases like this, that you never solve.” Investigators turned to Louisiana State University’s Repository for Missing and Unidentified Persons, known as the FACES Lab, to help identify the remains. According to the lab’s website, LSU’s Department of Geography and Anthropology has been offering forensic anthropology services to law enforcement since the late 1970s. The formal lab was established in the 1990s. Since it’s inception, it has begun working with law enforcement agencies across the country. In a statement on its Facebook page, FACES lab officials commended law enforcement for identifying Brazzell and solving her homicide. “It was only through the hard work of the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office and Louisiana State Police Crime Lab that we were finally able to solve one of our oldest unidentified persons cases,” the statement said. The lab was able to establish that the bones found near Gardner belonged to a white woman between 16 and 21 years old. Her remains had been exposed to the elements for at least two months and up to one or more years. FACES obtained a DNA sample from the remains and kept it stored over the years, the Sheriff’s Office news release said. “FACES composed a reconstruction of the victim’s skull, which provided investigators a likeness of the victim,” the news release said. “A photograph of the reconstruction was later placed on the repository’s website. Over the years, it would be shared on many other web-based sites, along with social media sites.” As the decades rolled by, the case remained unsolved. In 2014, however, detectives received information pointing to Laird and Haymon as potential suspects in Brazzell’s death. Hilton told KALB that the case heated up again in July when a Pineville woman called investigators to say she recognized the face of the unidentified woman. The woman was Brazzell’s grandmother, Hilton said. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children indicated the woman spotted her granddaughter on its “Help ID Me” Facebook page. Detectives collected a DNA sample from Brazzell’s grandmother and compared it to that of the remains. The results confirmed the older woman’s suspicions. Authorities have not said what evidence links Laird and Haymon to Brazzell’s slaying. The Center for Missing and Exploited Children announced Brazzell’s identification on its main Facebook page Monday. “Thank you to everyone that shared this Jane Doe’s information over the years,” the post read. “Your attention and efforts helped give Donna back her name!” Rapides Parish detectives said the homicide investigation is ongoing and additional charges may be filed.

Washington Insider

  • On a day of big losses on the stock markets sparked first by China levying new tariffs on imports from America, President Donald Trump wasted no time Friday afternoon in announcing higher import duties against the Chinese, plunging the two countries even deeper into an economic standoff which could have negative worldwide ramifications. 'China should not have put new Tariffs on 75 BILLION DOLLARS of United States product,' the President tweeted about an hour after the close on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones dropped over 600 points. 'Starting on October 1st, the 250 BILLION DOLLARS of goods and products from China, currently being taxed at 25%, will be taxed at 30%,' the President wrote.  'Additionally, the remaining 300 BILLION DOLLARS of goods and products from China, that was being taxed from September 1st at 10%, will now be taxed at 15%,' he added. The President also called on American companies to take their manufacturing businesses out of China, arguing that the United States was the victim of an 'unfair Trading Relationship.' 'Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA,' Mr. Trump tweeted. The White House did not provide any explanation as to how the President would have the power to force U.S. companies to abandon their manufacturing operations in China. Economic experts and businesses were worried by the days events. “(T)his is a major risk as it's the economy - households and businesses - that are in play,” said Gregory Daco of Oxford Economics. “The administration's approach clearly isn't working, and the answer isn't more taxes on American businesses and consumers,” said the National Retail Federation. “Where does this end?'  “These added tariffs will ratchet up consumer prices, stall business investment, escalate uncertainty and cost American jobs,” said the pro-free trade group Tariffs Hurt the Heartland. “In just the past three years, U.S. soybean exports to China have fallen nearly 80 percent, and once these tariffs kick in, things are likely to get worse,” said Roger Johnson, the head of the National Farmers Union.  The standoff with China was a far cry from President Trump's prediction in March of 2018, when he wrote on Twitter that trade wars are 'easy to win.' As for Democrats - even though many of them would like to see the United States be more forceful with China - their answer is not retaliatory tariffs and a trade war. “Our economy is showing signs of weakening due to the president’s trade war, and these back-and-forth tariffs will only make things worse,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). “The facts are clear: President Trump's destabilizing and reckless trade war is undermining growth,” said Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA). “Your tariffs are hurting our country badly,” said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA). “There's nothing funny about tanking people's retirement accounts with a failed trade war,” said Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA).