A Miami Beach Police detective has been relieved of duty with pay while he is investigated by his own department and the FBI, the police department said Thursday in a press release.
Detective Philippe Archer was recently accused of beating up a drunk model while working in plainclothes. A man who said he saw the incident and tried to help said he instead was also pummeled by the detective.
“The Miami Beach Police Department takes all allegations of officer misconduct seriously and will ensure that a full and thorough review of the incident in question is conducted,” according to the department’s press release.
The department has been trying to shed a reputation for bad behavior and questionable use of force — including the recent death of a teenage graffiti artist after police stunned him with a Taser.
Archer has been the subject of at least three lawsuits filed by people who claimed they were beaten up or wrongly arrested, according to court records. He was also one of about a dozen officers who shot more than 100 rounds at a drunk driver, killing him, during Memorial Day weekend in 2011.
Most recently, the detective arrested 29-year-old Megan Adamescu and 50-year-old Andrew Mossberg on June 26 outside a condo on West Avenue in South Beach. He responded to a concierge’s call that Adamescu was drunk and refused to leave the lobby of the South Bay Club condo. When Archer arrived, he wrote in an arrest report that Adamescu was too drunk to hand him an ID, so he took her passport out of her purse.
That’s when Andrew Mossberg happened to walk by with his 12-year old son and their beagle mix, Snoopy. Thinking he was witnessing a purse snatching, Mossberg yelled to Archer that he was calling the police.
“That’s when he ran at me, kicked me once in the left side of the head, then kicked me again in the forehead, and punched me twice,” Mossberg told the Miami New Times, which first reported about the incident.
Archer wrote that Adamescu slapped him in the face when Mossberg distracted him. Archer responded with a smack that sent the model falling backwards, and then Mossberg attacked him, he wrote.
Despite being in plainclothes, Archer writes in his report that both Adamescu and Mossberg knew he was a cop.
“I pointed to my badge and made my firearm visible and identified myself as a LEO,” Archer wrote, using an acronym for law enforcement officer.
In two court cases against Archer, people who were arrested by him claimed that the detective was in plainclothes and did not identify himself as an officer. One case, in which a French tourist said he and his 15-year old son were strangled and punched, was settled out of court. Details of the settlement are not available in the court record. Two other cases were dismissed.
“We are supportive of Archer and we’re going to defend him vigorously. We don’t know what the issues are but we stand by him, and I hope this is not another political move because it’s more expedient to give in to all the pressure,” said Alex Bello, president of the Miami Beach branch of the Fraternal Order of Police.