Police: BSO deputy allegedly beat homeless man
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A BSO deputy has been charged for allegedly attacking a homeless man.
Deputy Matthew Eisenberg turned himself in to the Broward County jail, Tuesday morning. "It pains me anytime we have to arrest a police officer," said Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti at a press conference. "But its particularly painful anytime we have to arrest one of our own."
According to the arrest affidavit, back in November, Eisenberg observed James Rhodes, who was homeless, panhandling. Eisenberg said, when he called Rhodes over, he went the other way and struggled when being arrested. Rhodes was arrested for soliciting/obstructing the roadway.
The arrest affidavit went on to say that when Detective Eisenberg told Rhodes that the duffel bag he was carrying would not be going with him, Rhodes replied, "Well, Broward County can buy me a new one."
"Detective Eisenberg responded by punching Rhodes in the face," according to the report. Then incident report then states, "Detective Eisenberg ripped off a piece of Rhodes' shirt to try to clean the blood off a window."
The incident happened last November, on the corner of 441 and Commercial Boulevard. "Word were exchanged between Deputy Eisenberg and that suspect. At that point he punched the suspect," Lamberti said,
Al Milian, Eisenberg's attorney, said the deputy has a spotless record, and he is being set up for political reasons. "We're going to enter a plea of not guilty," Milian said. "We're gonna fight the charges. We're gonna conduct our own investigation, and we know the motives for some people lying are going to be exposed, and we'll get the other side of the story."
BSO has said he is not being targeted. One of their deputies blew the whistle. BSO spokesperson Jim Leljedal said, "Sometimes hitting a suspect is justified, but when it's not justified, that can't be tolerated."
The investigation took so long to see charges filed because the victim had moved out to Texas.
Eisenberg has been charged with official misconduct, battery and falsifying records. He bonded out of jail Tuesday afternoon and ran from waiting media cameras.
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