A Fort Lauderdale police officer assaulted and arrested a Black man at his job after he and a guest had a physical altercation over a racial slur and a stay cancellation. Prominent attorney Ben Crump leaked a copy of the surveillance camera video this week, which appears to show the cops detained the wrong man.
CBS4 reports that on Jan. 19 Raymond Rachal was assaulted twice: once verbally by a belligerent guest because the employee canceled his stay at the Best Western Plus, and secondly when an officer, in response to a call about Rachal’s subsequent fight with the man, the officer rushed in and pushed Rachal back into a small refrigerator.
Rachal was working at the front desk of the hotel, located at 1180 Sea Breeze Blvd., in Fort Lauderdale, when Jason Rabe, a guest who had left earlier after his reservations were nixed, returned in a fury.
The video shows Rabe charge past the closed gate to where Rachal seated.
When Rabe gets into Rachal’s area, the clip shows the Lauderdale Lakes resident jumping up and punching the aggressor in the face. Eventually, he beats the man down to the floor.
Another person comes into the area. As the two fight, once Rabe is pinned to the floor by Rachal, the man calls 911.
Rachal can be heard yelling, “He ran right towards me, and I had to defend myself.”
Later he heard saying, “And they let him go, they stupid as sh-t.”
The comment references an earlier incident where police came to the property because Rabe was being disruptive and didn’t arrest him.
This time, when the police came, they made an arrest. They cuffed Rachal, without hearing the nature of the fight or who they were called for.
Rachal was detained for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest with violence, however, those charges were dropped, Local 10 reports.
In a report about the incident, Officer Anthony Camodeo justified his actions in the report saying the officers received a call about “a male having another male in a headlock” at the hotel and when he saw Rachal had Rabe in the chokehold and he was bleeding. Camodeo then admitted he pushed Rachal, adding the worker pushed him back.
Camodeo wrote, “I ordered the defendant several times to back up, which he failed to do, and pushed him back several more times as well.”
“The defendant then with his arms pushed me back. I then attempted to place the defendants’ arms behind his back, when he tensed up his arms and upper body and was holding his arms in front of him, resisting officers’ efforts to handcuff him,” NBC 6 reports the officer said.
Footage reveals the write-up is not accurate and Camodeo was the only one making physical contact.
Crump’s tweet about the video read, “Hotel employee Raymond Rachal tried to exercise his RIGHT to cancel a white hotel guest’s stay for spewing racial slurs at him, but Ft. Lauderdale (Fla) PD officers allowed the man to STAY & Rachal was attacked, arrested & charged for defending himself!”
The clip shows while being pushed, the employee continued to explain and chronicle what happened. At one point, he even points toward the video camera in the corner of the lobby ceiling, saying it would verify his account.
Camodeo also wrote Rachal “tensed up his arms and upper body and was holding his arms in front of him resisting officers’ efforts to handcuff him,” and “struggled” as he tried to get him into the back of his patrol car.
Rachal was taken to the Broward County jail and the police gave Rabe, who still seemed to be drunk, a courtesy ride to a friend’s house. Court records reveal Rachal was released on a $1,000 bond. All charges against Rachal were dropped in February.
The FLPD released a statement on Monday, March 28, regarding the events on Jan. 19, saying, they were “aware of a video circulating social media relating to an arrest made in January,” and “Fort Lauderdale’s Office of Internal Affairs is conducting a review of this incident.”
Rachal’s mother hopes to retain a civil rights attorney, but it appears despite Crump leaking the video, he’s not announced he was taking the case on.
Rachal no longer works at the hotel.