Video: Sgt.'s use of pepper spray contested

A Fla. police union president does not agree with what prosecutors say two videos depict in the case against a police sergeant

By PoliceOne Staff

MIAMI — A police union president is contesting prosecutors' claim that a surveillance video shows a police sergeant pepper-spraying a man outside a bar.

Homestead Police Sgt. Jeffrey Rome, 56, was charged with abuse of an elderly adult, false imprisonment and battery in connection with a July incident in which he was off-duty working security at Celios Latin Quarter Bar, NBC Miami reported.

In the video, Rome is seen motioning toward an older man as if he were spraying him, then approaching him again a short distance down the street.

But Dade County PBA President John Rivera said if the man were pepper-sprayed, he would have fallen down.

"That pepper spray is designed to put you out of commission immediately. That guy was not put out of commission at any time,” Rivera told the station.

Prosecutors claim a second video shows Rome drag a different man behind a car, then pour liquid on the man as he lays on the ground.

Rivera also questioned the timing of Rome’s arrest and two other officers on misconduct charges, as the union is not supporting Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle in her bid for reelection.

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