Two Beach Cops To Be Fired After ATV Accident
MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) – Vowing to take “swift and firm action,” Miami Beach Police Chief said his department has begun termination proceedings against two officers – one of whom was involved in a reported joyride on a department ATV on the beach – which caused two people to be injured over the weekend.
Police issued a statement Tuesday saying Officer Derick Kulian, a five-year veteran of the force, would likely be fired after he “was present at the Clevelander Hotel and that Officer Kulian took a civilian on his ATV in violation of departmental policies.”
A second officer identified by the department as Rolando Gutierrez, a six-year veteran of the force, will also be terminated because he was with Kulian at the popular bar at 1020 Ocean Drive. Both Gutierrez and Kulian have been tested for “alcohol consumption,” police added.
Meanwhile, the brother of a North Miami Beach man who was reportedly run down by Kulian called for the police department to take action.
“I just want justice served,” said Isramil Almonte, “He broke the law, he deserves to be punished.”
Almonte’s brother Luis, 29, is recovering in surgical intensive care at Mt. Sinai Medical Center.
“His thigh was broken like spaghetti,” said Isramil Almonte.
Doctors used a rod was used to fix Almonte’s broken femur and are checking him for internal injuries.
“My brother is in a great deal of pain,” said Almonte. “I don’t know when he is going to get out of the hospital.”
Almonte and his friend Kitzie Nicanor, 28, were hurt just after 5 a.m. Sunday when they were struck by an ATV driven by Officer Kulian. After the accident Almonte said Kulian took off.
It’s not clear if the officer reportedly left the scene after the accident. Police said they will investigate that.
“I’m mad, if it had been us, we would have had to take a breathalyzer test, that’s what makes me mad,” said Isramil Almonte.
Nicantor, who is from Washington, is being treated at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Almonte’s friend, Jonnathan Adames, said he witnessed the incident.
“I didn’t think she was going to make it,” he said. “She had sand in her mouth, blood and sand in her nose and her mouth. I’m enraged at the same time, I’m scared and I’m running around frantic. I don’t know what to do. These are my friends. I want justice.”
The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office is waiting for blood test results to determine if Kulian was driving under the influence of alcohol when he hit Almonte and Nicanor on the beach near 4th Street.
Kulian has been relieved of duty pending an investigation and will likely be terminated.
Miami Beach Police Chief Carlos Noriega issued the following statement expressing his disappointment.
“I am disappointed and share the community’s outrage about these incidents involving two of our Officers. The Miami Beach Police Department is committed to the philosophy of providing public safety excellence to the community it serves. I will not tolerate any behavior which compromises the public’s trust or Department’s image,” Noriega said in a released statement.
Miami Beach Police said that Kulian violated department policy by allowing a civilian to ride on the back of his ATV. He was on ATV patrol on Miami Beach because of a rash of recent thefts.
Adames told CBS4′s Peter D’Oench, “The officer was going at a very high rate of speed and had his lights out. That was dangerous.”
Miami Beach Mayor Mattie Bower said she’s outraged. She said Kulian abandoned his post on the beach to have a drink at the Clevelander, while he was on duty, with Officer Gutierrez. That’s where Kulian reportedly met a woman and took her on the ATV ride along the beach, ultimately crashing into a couple. Police have identified the woman riding with the officer as 27-year old Adelee Sharie Martin.
“It is terrible. It is terrible,” she said. “It is not supposed to happen. This is not what the police are all about. This is not what they are supposed to be doing. They are supposed to be taking care of us, drinking or not, the other policeman was supposed to be in North Beach.”
Miami Beach police said they’ve also launched a second investigation in the second officer who was also reportedly not at his post. They said that officer was not directly tied to the accident but had accompanied Kulian to the Clevelander.
Noriega declined to speak with CBS 4 News but had released a statement earlier in the day.
“Should the investigations determine that the officer involved in this accident failed to follow existing policies and /or procedures then I will take swift and firm action. The safety and well being of our residents and visitors is the Miami Beach Police Department’s primary mission.”