When Rodolfo Valladares walked into an Aventura Bank of America, he simply wanted to cash his $100 check. A jumpy bank teller, thinking he looked like a robber, hit a silent alarm.
Police from Aventura and Miami-Dade rushed to the bank, ordered everyone to the floor as they physically detained Valladares, handcuffing him and kicking him in the head, his lawyer said. He was let go when bank employees and police realize they made a mistake.
For his troubles, Valladares soon will be getting a much bigger check.
A Miami-Dade jury has awarded Valladares $3.3 million in damages after ruling that the bank was negligent in triggering the silent alarm, then failing to cancel it when employees realized he was not a robber.
Valladares, 50, a former mortgage company loan officer, still suffers from headaches, blurred vision and post-traumatic stress disorder, said his attorney Russell S. Adler.
Meanwhile, tales of a different sort of police malfeasance come out of Seattle: a cop was smart enough to turn off his dashboard cam before beating up a couple off innocent guys to inflate his arrest statistics; fortunately for his victims, the cop forgot to turn off his lapel microphone, which recorded him saying "Yeah, I'm going to make stuff up" to justify their arrests. A police review board cleared the officer of any wrongdoing.
When those 30,000 spy drones start flying over America by the end of the decade, I'm sure we'll see similar patterns of videotape failure: anytime police misbehave, the cameras will always stop recording first. And remember: in American jurisprudence, anytime your word contradicts that of a cop, you are always assumed to be lying unless there's recordings supporting your version of events (and not always, even then).