Courts & Crime

2 Miami Beach cops accused of beating witness on desk duty

Two Miami Beach police officers accused of making up charges against a gay tourist who said he saw them beating and kicking a handcuffed man near a city park have been taken off patrol and put on desk duty, city spokeswoman Nannette Rodriguez announced Thursday night.

On Wednesday, the ACLU of Florida told Mayor Matti Herrera Bower that it planned to sue the city and Officers Frankly Forte and Elliot Hazzi.

Forte and Hazzi are accused of approaching witness Harold Strickland as he reported the beating to a Miami Beach 911 dispatcher. Forte and Hazzi didn't know who Strickland was speaking with when they took his cellphone and disconnected the call, said Robert F. Rosenwald Jr., director of the ACLU Florida's Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender Advocacy Project.

"The officers then told Strickland: 'We know what you're doing here. We're sick of all the f---ing fags in the neighborhood.' The officers pushed Strickland to the ground and tied his hands behind his back,'' Rosenwald wrote in an ACLU letter to Bower.

The officers charged Strickland with loitering or prowling and took him to jail. The charge later was dropped.

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