Police Criticized After Miami Beach Arrests

MIAMI BEACH – (CBS4) – The party scene on South Beach took a sobering turn this weekend when two people were arrested by Miami Beach police officers whose use of force is now raising questions.

greenbacks Police Criticized After Miami Beach Arrests

(Source: Miami Beach Police)

The videos now posted on YouTube show  25-year-old Maryland visitor Sara Greenback apparently being slammed onto the sand. The police union referred to this maneuver as a “redirection to the ground.”

Former Miami police chief Kenneth Harms watched the video at the request of CBS4 News.

“Was it too much force? I don’t know,” Harms said. “It certainly didn’t result in any injuries I could see and it was a soft surface. If you’re talking about someone being thrown to a hard surface, that’s another matter. What needs to be explained is how the crowd collected, where it came from and if this was an oversold venue.”

Click here to watch the YouTube video.

“After reviewing several YouTube videos of the incident, the Department has concluded that the officer acted appropriately while affecting the arrests and dealing with the volatile situation at hand,” said Det. Juan F. Sanchez, spokesman for the Miami Beach police department, in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.

Sara Greenback had bad been kicked out of the event known as Funkfashion Show because of unruly behavior. She was charged with a misdemeanor for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest without violence. She has since been released from jail on bond.

In another YouTube video, a police lieutenant is shown grabbing a man with a Yankees cap and throwing him to the ground. The man – later identified as Abelardo Soto – was arrested and charged with striking a police officer with an unknown weapon, causing a deep cut.

The officer was treated and released from Mount Sinai Hospital in Miami Beach after receiving stitches for the gash on his forehead, police officials said Tuesday.

Soto’s official charge was aggravated battery on an officer and resisting arrest with violence.

The police union characterizes the arrests as a one-time incident during a violent weekend when people act crazy. Helms said the city needs to make sure officers acted appropriately.

“The officers clearly had to make a decision on what to do and how quickly to do it before things got out of control. What needs to happen is complete, impartial and thorough investigation.”

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

More from CBSMiami.com Team
  • Micky

    The LT Was hit in the head with a bottle by the thug Soto! So I don’t care how Soto was taken into custody give me a break!

  • Angelina Licea

    When are people going to learn that we have to respect our police?

    • Hill

      When the police learn to start respecting ALL people!

    • guesto

      when are they going to learn to respect our constitutional rights?

      • snot

        Both of their constitutional rights were voided when they decided to act like idiots. She was told to leave and refused…trespassing. He assaulted an officer. They got what they asked for. Hope you get yours soon.

  • Patriot

    When are the police going to learn they have to respect the people? We are CITIZENS not “civilians”.

    • Money

      The police did nothing wrong here !! Thankfully nobody got hurt !! Suspects or police ! These guys were just doing the jobs that they get paid for ! What would u do if u were surrounded by that drunken crowd ? I think they had incredible restrain . Good job , good guys !!!

      • Peace

        You don’t think it hurts when you get maced in the face? Also, if I was surrounded by a drunken angry crowd my first instinct wouldn’t be to body slam a 100 pound girl to the ground. That would only infuriate the crowd further. Maybe they should have spent their time preventing the rapes that occurred the same day?

  • Renee

    This is appaling. ABSOLUTELY too much force. This girl was not even fighting back. The way she was thrown to the ground was enough to break her neck. Lucky for her that this didn’t happen. Miami Beach police should be ashamed.

  • Jane Doe

    Can someone please tell us what exactly led up to this arrest? There is no video of that.

  • Obeserverfromupnorth

    I think there were probably more that should have been arrested and weren’t. South Beach is a cesspool and needs extreme policing, I won’t take my family there for no amount of money day or night. There are no exceptions to the law deal with or don’t come. Then maybe we can get some decent people back here vacationing and enjoying themselves. From the look of the young lady she had a few to many drinks or smoked a little to much.

    • Peace

      She looks like that because the police unnecessarily maced her. Not because she “smoked a little too much”

  • Jose

    As a law abiding Hispanic American many of the Miami -dade police are macho cowboys and have a 3rd world banana republic mentality.

    Sara Greenback who was thrown on the ground like an animal needs to sue.

    • Money

      You cop haters will always disagree with police !!! This could’ve happened in a all white city in the Midwest , with a cop that graduated from an ivy league university and you would still make your ignorant rants !!! Please , they did nothing wrong . I’m a law abiding citizen and have never had a problem with our police . Even when I have been ticketed . Sure there not all perfect examples , but I live in peace knowing most of these brave souls watch over us !!

    • Money

      You where probably one of the drunken lunatics in the crowd shown in the video. Look what right is right !! Those individuals deserve what they got . Period the end!!!

    • Elmer Fudd

      HAHAHAHHAHAHA……..a cop that graduated from IVY league..YEAH RIGHT….what planet are you on?:..NEVER HEARD OF THAT ONE BEFORE!!!!!!!!!! Most Cops go to school for 2 years beyond highschool and a much smaller number go to a 4 year undergrad, but get horrible grades because of their intelligence level, and decide that being a cop is their last option. I think your “ivy league” remark is absolutely without support. Anybody know of any cops personally that went to an Ivy League school? ……didn’t think so…and if you do….tell you pig friend he’s an idiot with student loans that will never be paid off on a cop salary

  • stan moscat

    the cops should be walking or rideing bikes and start cleaning up wash. ave we need a new police chief when you come to miami beach you are on your own be carefor thanks to our so called mayor and police chief .

  • Stan Moscat

    the cops should be walking or rideing bikes on wash. ave to move out the real trash that hang out and hit on everybody for money or sleep on sidewalks looks real nice when you come to miami beach you are on your own thanks to our mayor and our police chief what a joke they are time for them to go.

  • mimi

    Money you sound like a dictator loosen up man!!! i agree withMoscat Washington Ave is the problem it does look very bad homeless all over the olace sleeping on Bus benches its a shame cause i love this city

  • harold gaines

    I think the Beach Police Officer did a geat job by from using his taiser. This gal needs 30 days to cool off

  • Money

    Great admission Luis . I’ll make sure to save your comment as evidence !!!

  • wtfidaho

    These cops are nothing but power crazed thugs.

    • government waste

      Cowboys that watch to much tv. guilty until proven innocent. Freeks and geeks that got picked on in school.

  • Charles

    I think the police did excatly what needed to be done at that particular time. If you don’t like it don’t act like an ideot. Also, unless you have worn a Badge you probably have no idea what it feels like to always be out numbered so how about keeping your prejudicial remarks to yourself. No one else really wants to hear them. You are part of the problem, not the solution.

    • government waste


  • government waste

    Give all the cops a new car on the tax payer . Why should they have to use 1 car for 3 shifts .. Oh thats right they do.

  • government waste

    A cop is a brain washed freek that believes everything there leaders tell them . remember the S S they believed Hitler

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