What started as a disturbed man yelling at employees inside a South Miami-Dade Wendy's restaurant this week escalated into a tense standoff with police officers, all of it caught on bystander video.
The agitated man, Joaquin Labaut, hollered loudly, threw his hands in the air and refused to get on the ground. Then, he retreated to the kitchen — all while withstanding shot after shot from police Taser stun guns.
Labaut, 35, was ultimately arrested without injuries and charged with aggravated battery of a law-enforcement officer, misdemeanor counts of battery, resisting an officer without violence and disorderly conduct.
The video, obtained by the Miami Herald, illustrates the difficulty of dealing with mentally ill people in public spaces, police say. Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez said his officers showed restraint, especially because Labaut was much bigger than the two female officers and was agitated.
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"They chose not to up the use of force under the circumstances,'' he said. "It ended well. They showed restraint."
South District officers were called to the Wendy's at 20975 South Dixie Hwy. on Wednesday afternoon as Labaut entered the restaurant, began "speaking to himself loudly and acting erratically by flailing his arms back and forth," according to an arrest report.
According to the report, Labaut was harassing employees and "became violent when police approached" and "started punching the walls while yelling obscenities."
The footage shows the two female officers initially tried to coax Labaut to the ground without using brute force, instead relying on the stun gun from several feet away and in "stun mode" pressed directly into him.
"Get down on the floor," the officers yelled repeatedly as Labaut retreated to the kitchen.
Labaut then took refuge at the drive-through window, pressing up against terrified employees. A male police officer approached and began yelling loudly, cursing and taking out a baton and repeatedly striking the man's feet and legs to get him to comply.
More Taser shots did nothing — Perez said the man's thick sweater may have prevented the prongs from hitting his skin.
"Get on the ground, bro!" one of the female officers yelled.
Labaut slipped past officers toward the dining area, tumbling over chairs and seats while absorbing even more Taser shots. "Stop resisting!" another officer yelled.
Officers ultimately cuffed Labaut as he finally went limp on the ground.
Said one of the female officers: "Bro, why you acting stupid today?"
Labaut remains in a Miami-Dade jail awaiting trial.