“At this point we are not concerned with a puppy,” is the statement made to WSVN-TV by Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta after a 6-week-old pit bull mix named Polo was injured during a scuffle with a 14-year old teen.
Fourteen-year-old Tremaine McMillan was taken into custody for resisting arrest, which is a felony in Florida. He was also charged with disorderly conduct. His crime: giving Miami-Dade officers “dehumanizing stares” and “clinching his fists.: Fortunately, the boys mother, Maurissa Holmes, recorded the incident on her cell phone.
The video code can’t be embedded on Examiner, but can be viewed here.
The incident began earlier in the week when McMillan was playing near Haulover Beach with some of his friends and his new puppy. The police approached on their ATV’s and asked him what he was doing. Apparently the officers thought he was playing too rough with his friends. Tremaine denies this, because he was holding the puppy the whole time.
Tremaine was jumped on by the officers after being asked where his mother was. He says he was trying to obey the officers and was walking toward his mother when officers jumped from their ATV and pinned him to the ground.
In an interview with WSVN, the teen described what happened. “I don’t like it. I feel sad. He got in front of me on the ATC (sic) and he slammed my hand. Then he started choking me. Then my 6-week old Pit Bull mix named Polo got hurt and bruised his front paw when the police grabbed me and slammed me down. It makes me feel sad.”
Holmes, who witnessed the attack, ran over and begged officers to get off of her son. “I ran over there and said, ‘That’s my son, that’s my son. Can you get off of him? He can’t breathe,” she’s quoted as telling police.
Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta has justified the use of force against the teen. Tremaine has entered a plea of not guilty, and his public defender asked the court to reconsider the charges. The judged refused any change in the charges made.
Tremaine now has a trial date set for July 16, where he’ll have the opportunity to tell his side of the story. Prosecutors in the case are siding with the police.
This case should prove interesting, since Florida is one of the states where it’s illegal to videotape police roughhousing our youth. It falls under “eavesdropping.” This reporter wonders whether the mother will also face charges, as videotaping is a felony punishable for up to 15 years in prison.
Polo suffered an injured front paw, a detail that was left out of the official police report.
While some think the teen made derogatory gestures to police, do the readers think it fair for police to tackle a 14-year old who was only trying to lead police to his mother, as he was asked to do?
Your comments are welcome.