An attorney says a Fort Lauderdale hotel employee who was arrested after video showed him brawling with a guest was just trying to defend himself.
The incident happened back in January at the Best Western on Seabreeze Boulevard.
Activist and attorney Benjamin Crump over the weekend tweeted surveillance footage from the hotel that shows 28-year-old Raymond Rachal working at the desk in the lobby when a man walks up to him, pushing past a stanchion.
The two immediately start to scuffle as punches are thrown and they fall to the ground.
Rachal eventually put the man in a headlock and held him for several minutes until police officers arrived.
The video shows the officers immediately approach Rachal, pushing him before taking him into custody.
Rachal was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting an officer with violence.
In an arrest report, the officer who responded wrote that he found Rachal on top of the other man who was in a headlock and “had a large pool of blood beneath him and on his face.”
The officer wrote that he ordered Rachal to get off the man and back up, but when Rachal wouldn’t comply, the officer pushed him back and away from the other man.
“I ordered the defender several times to back up, which he failed to do, and pushed him back several more times as well,” the officer wrote in the report. “The defender then with his arms pushed me back. I then attempted to place the defender’s 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 .”
Rachal was eventually placed in handcuffs and booked into jail.
In his tweet, Crump said 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!”
It was unclear whether Crump is Rachal’s attorney or how Crump obtained the video.
Fort Lauderdale Police officials released a statement Monday that said their Office of Internal Affairs is reviewing the incident.
The manager of the hotel said they had no comment. Rachel no longer works there.
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