MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Miami police officer has been relieved of duty pending the outcome of investigation where he and another cop clashed during a traffic stop. It was captured on the traffic cop’s personal video camera that he mounted on the dash of his squad car.
The video, obtained by the blog, Crespogram.com, show’s officer Marcel Jackson pulling over an alleged speeder in an unmarked car in June. It appears to be on Southwest 7th Street in Little Havana.
Not fifteen seconds after Ofc. Jackson reaches the driver’s window, the video shows motorist pushing the front door open against the officer and confronting him. The immediately engage in a tussle, going to the ground. Other officers quickly arrive and help their colleague subdue the combative motorist.
What no one knew, at least for a while, is the driver who jumped in the cop’s face was Miami police Lieutenant David Ramras – who was assigned to internal affairs, which investigates other cops.
Ofc. Jackson’s dash cam recorded a call he made to an colleague shortly after the incident.
“I was like, stay in the car!” Jackson can be heard saying on the call. “And he’s like ‘I’m lieutenant of the police, I’m lieutenant of the police!’ and he pushes his way out. I’m like, ‘I don’t know who you are, Bro, you don’t jump out on me. I don’t care if you are a lieutenant or whatever you are.'”
Did the uniformed officer react as he should? Former Miami Police Chief Kenneth Harms viewed the video for CBS4 News. Harms, a national- recognized police consultant, says the uniformed cop behaved appropriately.
“What would you do under the circumstances, if your were an officer and you feared for your life or your safety,” Harms told CBS4’s Gary Nelson. “You would immediately try to control the situation so you could go home at the end of your tour of duty.”
Harms says any driver – certainly a police lieutenant – should know better than to jump out on a cop.
“It would be inappropriate for him to literally open the door on the police officer. That would be a threatening move to the average officer who would fear for his own personal safety,” Harms said.
Officer Jackson says the driver briefly flashed a badge before barging out of the car. But Harms said any good cop knows fake cops are common.
Flashing a badge “doesn’t get it,” Harms said.
Lots of police brass showed up on the scene of the incident. The lieutenant was allowed to go. According to Crespogram.com no incident report was written.
Since the encounter, the lieutenant has been moved out of internal affairs. The traffic cop has been relieved of duty pending an investigation. A department spokesman declined to add any detail.
“It is an open, on-going internal affairs case, so we are not commenting at this time,” said Sergeant Freddie Cruz.
The Fraternal Order of Police, the police union, issued a statement saying it provided legal counsel for both officers. The FOP is representing the lieutenant, but Ofc. Jackson chose to hire his own attorney, Scott Srebnick, who told CBS4 News neither he nor his client are commenting as yet.
FOP President Javier Ortiz declined to comment on the record as to the circumstances of the clash between the two officers, but noted that Jackson passed on an opportunity to meet with public corruption investigators at the state attorney’s office, with a union attorney present to advise him.
A police department source told CBS4 News Jackson doesn’t trust the FOP or department administration to fairly investigate the incident. The state attorney’s office is conducting a parallel investigation.
Miami police cars are not equipped with dash cameras. Officer Jackson had a personal dash cam to cover himself in the event he needed it. It would now appear he needed it.