Miami Officer Alex Garcia-Contreras Was Terminated After He Punched A Homeless Guy: A Miami police officer who assaulted and struck a homeless man who was allegedly stealing chicken from a Publix deli counter 20 months ago has been dismissed.
Informed Nov. 10 that his seven-year career with Miami police was finished due to 18 rules breaches, including the use of needless force and the abuse of a prisoner, patrol officer Alex Garcia-Contreras was working an off-duty job at the grocery store. In a four-page letter terminating the officer, City Manager Art Noriega stipulated that he had until November 26 to file an appeal.
Requests for comment on the officer’s termination from Miami police and Noriega went unanswered. But when the store manager told him about the conduct of then-58-year-old Will Barbor, Miami Fraternal Order of Police President Tommy Reyes was eager to defend the officer’s actions.
Reyes argued that the man was acting legally and defending himself. He honestly offered to buy the chicken since he was being a good guy. But when he turned hostile, the officer was forced to intervene. The use of force was appropriate.
According to Reyes, Garcia-Contreras informed the city of his intention to proceed through arbitration, a police prerogative that has been collectively bargained and frequently results in favorable decisions that allow officers to return to their jobs.
In order to continue receiving pay while internal affairs looked into his behavior, Garcia-Contreras, 34, has spent the last 20 months working from home but is unable to leave without authorization. The findings have not yet been presented by the city.
The police came under fire after a video of him pushing Barbor to the ground inside the Publix supermarket at 1776 Biscayne Boulevard on April 16, 2021, appeared on social media.
Four days after his detention, prosecutors dropped the charges of petty theft, resisting arrest without violence, and disorderly behavior. The day after his detention, Barbor was released from custody and advised to stay away from Publix.
According to the police report, after Barbor stole a piece of chicken from the deli and consumed it on his way out of the business, the store manager informed Garcia-Contreras. According to the police record, Barbor allegedly said “F*** you” and claimed that since he was homeless, he didn’t have to pay when the manager asked him to.
Barbor reportedly told the management, “I don’t have any money.” According to the report, Garcia-Contreras requested that Barbor accompany him to the location where he would issue a trespassing order. According to Reyes, the officer even offered to buy the chicken for the homeless man. However, Barbor turned aside and disregarded the gesture.
According to the police report, Barbor started “tensing up, forcing his hands away from the officer” as Garcia-Contreras attempted to grab him. At that point, the officer shifted his attention to the ground and applied more “distractionary hits” on him.
Not all of that is seen in the video. When the police pull Barbor onto a salad bar, Barbor is shown with his hands raised and backing up somewhat. Barbor was then struck at least eight times in the back of the head by Garcia-Contreras after he failed to wrap Barbor’s hands around his back.
Reyes at the time stated, “The guy was shoplifting.” “He is yelling, “I’m not resisting,’ yet he is definitely doing so. Pain compliance is acceptable, he said.