A handcuffed inmate was punched repeatedly by a Miami-Dade County corrections officer, video released by the Miami Herald shows.
The pummeling at the Metro West Detention Center only ended when a second officer stepped in, pushing his colleague off and wrapping his arms around the inmate,Mike Neal.
Video shows a third corrections officer then also stepping in to separate his fellow coworker, Delman Lumpkin.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office filed criminal charges in the case — but against the inmate, not the guard.
Prosecutors initially charged Neal, 45, with aggravated assault, a felony. But after viewing the video, prosecutors reduced the initial charge to a misdemeanor assault — but then added a new felony charge accusing Neal of “stalking” the corrections officer in the months leading up to the violent jail confrontation.
Neal’s criminal defense attorney, Marlene Montaner, said she was dumbfounded by the state’s stalking case. Neal is in a jail cell with no access to a phone or any means to stalk a corrections officer, she said, questioning why the charge was brought, especially when video evidence doesn’t support the initial battery allegation against the inmate.
“To me it’s really transparent, you have an initial arrest that’s not supported by the evidence,” said Byrne, a former U.S. prosecutor who filed Neal’s federal civil rights lawsuit in May against Lumpkin and other county corrections officers.
“After seeing the video, they drop the felony aggravated assault charge and make it a misdemeanor, but then they add this felony stalking charge because they don’t have a case against Mr. Neal anymore. This is how they justify it.”
No charges have been filed against any of the three guards. But more than a year after charging Neal, prosecutors finally told the defense in a state court filing in June that Lumpkin and the other two corrections officers are under criminal investigation for battery and official misconduct.
Before the skirmish on April 12 of last year, there were simmering tensions between Neal and Lumpkin, according to the inmate’s federal lawsuit.