By David Ovalle
The Miami Herald
MIAMI LAKE, Fla. — The bald, burly bicycle-riding man in sandals told four teenage pals that he was an undercover police officer. He confiscated their cellphones, wallets and an iPod.
They wanted to see a police badge. He refused.
So they kicked his butt.
Then they called the real police, who charged Robert Brown, 38, with impersonating an officer and strong-arm robbery.
"It was the most pathetic beating I've ever seen in my life, on his part anyway," said one teen, Christopher Ferrer, 18.
The beat-down happened early Tuesday in Miami Lakes. It was the first time Ferrer, Larry Arceo, 19, Joseph Amalbert, 18, Kinwo "Chino" Mui, 18, had hung out since classes ended at Barbara Goleman Senior High School in May.
They had bowled at Bird Bowl in Westchester. Afterward, they were hanging out in Mui's Ford Escort station wagon at a small park at Miami Lakeway South and Twin Sable Drive.
That's when Brown pedaled by, warning them that police were nearby, the teens said. He left but returned moments later.
"I'm undercover Miami-Dade; there's been a rash of burglaries around here," Brown said, according to the teens.
"He seemed pretty authoritative," Amalbert said.
The teens handed over their cellphones, wallets and Arceo's black iPod.
Brown placed the items on the car roof, asking if they had marijuana, according to a Miami-Dade police report. They didn't, the teens say.
Brown refused to show his badge, slurred oddly and said his name was "Officer Alfonso."
"Sit tight and wait for K9," he told them.
In the side mirror, Mui noticed Brown slip the belongings into his left pocket. Ferrer jumped from the car, asking again to see a badge.
Brown 'refused to give them back their property and stated, 'Get lost,' " a Miami-Dade police report read. "At which point, [Brown] started a fight with the victims. The victims fought back to retrieve the property."
The fake officer tried pedaling away, but Amalbert kicked his tire.
Arceo locked him in a chokehold. Punches flew. Ferrer kneed him in the nose. Brown's sandals flew off. Mui whacked him in the head with his skateboard. Amalbert stopped a passing motorist to call police.
Ferrer fished in Brown's pocket, pulling out a Ziploc plastic bag. In the dark, he angrily threw it on the grass — he thought it was marijuana, he said.
"No son, it was steak," an officer later told him, the teens recalled.
Brown pleaded with the boys not to call police, they said.
We're calling for your backup, they sneered.
Brown was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital's jail ward. The teens — who don't face charges because they were acting in self-defense — gave their statements to police.
Their reunion proved memorable.
"Awesome," Mui said. "One of the best nights ever."
Copyright 2007 The Miami Herald
Fla. teens turn the tables on fake cop