Reporting Peter D’Oench
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Miramar doctor has filed a suit against two of the city’s police officers and a Broward Sheriff’s detention deputy after he was arrested April 2011 for carrying an unloaded shotgun outside his home.
It happened April 3rd around 8:30 p.m. Dr. Laurinus Pierre, 60, said he was at home with his two daughters, brother and a friend when someone pounded on his front door. Terrified because he had been the victim of a burglary in the past, Pierre said he grabbed his shotgun and then went outside to check things out.
“I feared for my family, my house had been robbed before and I was fearful for my family because it was somebody trying to break in violently on my door,” said Pierre.
The doctor told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that when the police arrived they arrested him for improperly displaying a firearm. He said his neighbors had expressed their concerns to the officer that Pierre had been waving a gun around when there were children nearby.
Pierre said if the officers had reviewed his surveillance tape of the incident, they never would have arrested him.
“I’m a man who has led, I’ve led my life to be a role model and I do everything right. I go by the book,” said Pierre.
Two months later, prosecutors dropped the charge after they found there was no proof that Pierre had pointed the weapon at anyone or had displayed it in a threatening manner.
Pierre is the founder of the Center for Haitian Studies. He’s met with President Barack Obama on numerous occasions to discuss health care in the U.S. and Haiti. Pierre said after his arrest, the Secret Service canceled his future appointments.
Pierre said he’s suing the police department, the Broward Sheriff’s Office and the named officers because he was humiliated by the arrest.
“I’m suing for justice because I don’t want it to happen to somebody else,” said Pierre. “I believe in justice, I believe that my house is my sanctuary.”
“I was left confused,” Pierre said. “I was obviously hurt and traumatized.”
While Miramar police and the sheriff’s office have not commented because of the lawsuit, neighbor Dee Grant was skeptical.
“This is ridiculous. He’s suing and he’s the one going around with a gun,” said Dee Grant. “On what grounds is he suing and for what?”
“They automatically assumed he was guilty. They arrested him in front of his family and they ransacked his house in order to try to find evidence,” said Pierre’s attorney Michael Joseph. “He went to protect his family. This was a “stand your ground” to some extent at a basic level. But the threat was there.”
“I don’t think he should have done that. There are a lot of kids in this area. He should have called the police, the police respond very quickly,” said Grant. “This should have never happened. There was a complete breakdown of the system.”
Because of the arrest, Pierre said his blood pressure and blood sugar spiked and he had to be taken to Broward General Medical Center for care.
Additionally, because of the arrest and subsequent court proceedings, Pierre said it slowed down his partnership with the University of Miami and its medical students and his business.