FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A trio of homeless men who came to the aid of a Broward Sheriff’s deputy as he fought with a violent robbery suspect were recognized during a BSO awards ceremony Wednesday morning.
“To have these three men with us today–that’s what is right about our community,” said Broward County Sheriff Al Lamberti.
James Finch, Jose Ramos and Carmello Maldonade received a round of applause when they were called to the stage at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts to shake hands with Sheriff Lamberti. The men were given brand new bicycles as a token of appreciation from the department. All three came to the aid of Deputy Kevin Meyer last Saturday at a Pompano Beach McDonald’s restaurant.
“It’s nice to know I could help,” said Finch.
The incident began when Patrick Davis reportedly tried to steal a backpack from a homeless man, Michael Wyatt. Deputies said Davis was armed with a metal rod. The two men struggled for the bag and finally, Davis let go. Minutes later, Meyer walked into the restaurant looking to arrest Davis. Meyer was able to get Davis down on the ground, but when he went to handcuff him, Davis exhibited what the deputy described as “super human strength” in his official report.
“He appeared to have super human strength and threw me off him and knocked my lapel mic down preventing me from calling for assistance,” the deputy noted.
“It was basically, instantly, that he tensed up, where he tensed up and just pushed me off him like I was a feather,” Meyer said. “It just shows you how in a split second you can go from 0 to 100.”
Surveillance video from the restaurant shows Davis getting up off the floor and nearly flipping the deputy over. The two men struggled and Davis body slammed the deputy to the ground. Meyer lost his handcuffs, glasses and his radio got knocked loose so he couldn’t call for backup. That’s when several homeless men including Wyatt and his friend Ramos stepped in to help.
“Not everyone in our situation is hopless, helpless or heartless,” said Finch who also helped the deputy. “We’re all people.”
Ramos, an unemployed refrigerator repairman who saw saw Davis go for the officer’s gun belt, was the first person to jump in and help.
“That’s when I jumped in and said this man is gonna kill that officer,” said Ramos. “I ain’t gonna let that happen.”
Deputy Meyer appreciated the help.
“I think they’re phenomenal,” Meyer said. “They didn’t have to get involved and they did.”
Another deputy arrived and the group was finally able to subdue Davis who was put in the back of cruiser. Before he could be hauled off to jail, however, Davis kicked out a window, in an effort to escape. Davis is charged with battery on a law enforcement officer and several other charges including two outstanding cocaine offenses.
After the homeless helpers are officially honored the awards ceremony will proceed as planned, recognizing the recent accomplishments of several other citizens and BSO employees who performed heroically or outstandingly.