An incident that occurred at the Ultra Music Festival in 2011 has the Miami Police Department in hot water. Jesse Campodonico, 27-years-old, is suing the Miami Police Department because of police brutality. Campodonico, a fitness trainer from New York, and his girlfriend were attending the Ultra Music Festival in 2011 when the incident occurred. Campodonico states that he was brutally beaten because his girlfriend had glow sticks.
Unfortunately, the couple never actually made it into the festival. Upon their arrival, security held them up at the gate. The private security guard told them that they could not enter Bicentennial Park because they were carrying glow sticks. Eventually, Miami police officers got involved, and Campodonico was arrested.
Officer Nathaniel Dauphin was the first police officer to arrive on the scene. He reinforced the security guard’s authority and told the couple that they could not enter the park. Three other officers arrived swiftly and took Campodonico into custody. Campodonico says that he was brutally beaten, choked and tasered three times. He was then arrested and charged with battery. It is important to note that he was later cleared of the charges. During the investigation it was discovered that Campodonico was already on the ground when he was tasered. The prosecution came to the conclusion that the officers were clearly using excessive force.
It was later discovered that one of the officers, Javier Ortiz, lied on an official report involving the incident. Two of the police officers involved in this incident are no longer with the Miami Police Department. In unrelated cases, they both plead guilty to charges of extortion. A FBI investigation was initiated due to suspicion of unethical behavior. It was discovered that Dauphin had provided protection to a sports betting ring. Harold James, one of the other police officers involved in the Campodonico debacle also plead guilty to extortion charges. He was providing protection to a check cashing store.
The police officers originally stated that Campodonico had attacked them. They also stated that they had only used reasonable force to protect themselves and subdue Campodonico. In light of recent information, it isn’t surprising that their testimony would be questioned. Campodonico certainly seems to have a solid case against the Miami Police Department. The outcome of the lawsuit still remains to be seen.