Sarnoff Scuffles With Detractor Outside His Coconut Grove Home

COCONUT GROVE (CBSMiami) – Coconut Grove resident Reid Welch says he is on a campaign to cost Miami City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff his re-election. The self-admitted propane huffer posts videos on You Tube showing him removing and spray painting Sarnoff’s re-election signs; signs he says are illegally posted.

“I’m trying to ruin his reputation because he’s ruined mine,” Welch told CBS4’s Natalia Zea.

The sign squabble turned violent Saturday night, bringing several police officers to Sarnoff’s home in the Grove. Sarnoff says Welch was spray painting a sign on a nearby fence when an elderly neighbor confronted him. Sarnoff says Reid had spray paint and a boxcutter in his hand, and he tackled Welch to protect himself and that neighbor.’

“I was approaching him, he started approaching an elderly woman and I thought he was going to do harm to her, and I thought he was going to do harm to me and he started to spray paint in my face. I defended myself and I defended the woman and I took him down.”

Welch says the boxcutter is part of the home-made tool he uses to cut down signs. He says it was not in his hand during the confrontation. He also denies striking Sarnoff first.

“Suddenly I was knocked down from behind- tackled…And he’s yelling at me, no he’s growling at me and said Reid I’m gonna kill you, I’m gonna kill you.”

Sarnoff denies making threats. He says he calmly held Welch down until police arrived.

He accuses Welch of stalking him and his wife for a year. He says he’s filed four separate police reports against Welch, but charges were never filed.

“I think he’s extremely misguided, unfortunately our government doesn’t seem equipped to deal with him at all,” Sarnoff told Zea.

Given that Sarnoff is seeking re-election this Tuesday, he wishes this never happened.

“I’m sorry it happened before the election, but I’m a human being. I have to defend myself and I have to be able to defend another person I’m concerned about. And that’s all I did.”

Police are still looking into what exactly happened during this scuffle. All they will say at this point is that this incident remains under investigation and no arrests have been made. They told CBS4 News Partner the Miami Herald that they plan to collect evidence and turn it over to the State Attorney’s Office for review.

A check of court records shows Welch has been arrested in the past for criminal mischief, battery, disorderly conduct and cocaine possession.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed to this report.)


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