A Miami Beach cop fired for his alleged role in a brutal physical and verbal attack of two gay men will not only get his job back, he may also receive back pay of his six-figure salary -- including possible overtime wages lost and pensionable credit.
In March 2009, Eliut Hazzi and another officer were spotted allegedly beating up a man lying on the ground in South Beach's Flamingo Park. Dressed in plain clothes, the cops reportedly tackled the man, punched him repeatedly in the head, and kicked his head "like a football."
Tourist Harold Strickland watched the beating and called 911 to report the attack, not realizing the men were undercover cops.
According to Miami Beach Police's intent to discipline form, the two cops saw Strickland on the phone and arrested him for "prowling." Strickland later attested that the officers called him "fag" and "faggot" and added "We're sick of all the fucking fags in the neighborhood."
Hazzi was fired in 2011 and Strickland received a $75,000 settlement.
At the time, the Miami Beach Police union held that Hazzi was removed from the force unjustly due to heightened pressure after other Miami Beach cops were caught misbehaving, including an incident in which an officer ran over two people on the beach.
"After the ATV crash, there was a huge knee-jerk reaction to a lot of these different incidents going on right now," Sgt. Alejandro Bello, president of the Miami Beach chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police told the Sun Sentinel. "Instead of looking at the facts of the case, they are under a lot of pressure from the political powers to fire these two officers. It's just not right."
At Tuesday's hearing, union attorney Eugene Gibbons wrote in a brief “Hazzi was offered up by the City powers in a political sacrifice to appease the gay community.”
The independent arbitrator ruled that the city did not have adequate evidence to terminate Hazzi.
“He did prevail and will be getting his job back," Police Chief Raymond Martinez told the Miami Herald.
Yet Hazzi's alleged involvement in the Flamingo Park incidents weren't the officer's only brush with questionable behavior. Read more about a prior incident of alleged abuse in the Miami New Times.