MIAMI BEACH (CBS4)- The fired Miami Beach police officer accused of plowing his ATV into a man and woman during a drunken, on-duty joyride last month said he was illegally blood tested and deserves his job back.
Derick Kuilan, who faces two felony counts of reckless driving with serious bodily injury and two of DUI with serious bodily injury, wrote in a grievance filed with the city of Miami Beach that investigators wrongly took his blood after the July 3 crash.
Prosecutors said the blood test — taken more than five hours after the pre-dawn crash — showed Kuilan’s blood-alcohol levels were above the legal limit. Police Chief Carlos Noriega told CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald during a recent interview that his department took steps to ensure that Kuilan’s blood test was drawn legally, including contacting the state attorney’s office, before taking a sample. He said those efforts are what led to the five-hour delay.
But Kuilan and his defense attorney, Evan Hoffman, are challenging the test.
“The city based their arbitrary decision to terminate me on an unconstitutional/unlawful test and false, inflammatory and unsubstantiated allegations and information,” Kuilan wrote in his grievance, filed July 27, the day after he was charged by prosecutors.
Kuilan, 30, is demanding that he be reinstated with back pay and benefits.
Hoffman said the drug test violated state law and said Kuilan’s case is “very defensible.” He said surveillance footage from The Clevelander will show that he wasn’t drinking at the popular South Beach venue, as was alleged by a witnesses.
“It’s been sensationalized,” he said. “People are assuming that’s what’s already been put out there is true, and I wouldn’t assume that.”
According to Kuilan’s arrest warrant and police documents, Kuilan and fired Officer Rolando Gutierrez were on duty the morning of July 3 when they entered the bar and dance-floor area of the Clevelander around 5 a.m. and met four women in the midst of a bachelorette party.
The women said the two officers began dancing with them and then Kuilan invited bachelorette Adalee Martin on an ATV ride and sped down the beach with his lights off and Martin clinging to his waist. They turned back north and then crashed into Luis Almonte and Kitzie Nicanor near Fourth Street. Both Almonte suffered broken femurs and Nicanor, who is suing Kuilan and The Clevelander, underwent multiple surgeries.
One of Martin’s friends told police shortly after the crash that Kuilan and Gutierrez were drinking, but later on police reported that the women only saw Gutierrez drinking. Gutierrez has also filed a grievance, challenging the legality of his breathalyzer test.
On Friday, Mayor Matti Herrera Bower stood by city administrators’ decision to fire both officers, according to the Herald.
“We can not tolerate this kind of behavior from police officers in Miami Beach,” she said.
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