MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Authorities have released video of Carlos Gimenez Jr., son of U.S. Rep. Carlos Gimenez, slapping Miami Commissioner Alex Diaz de la Portilla in the head while dining at a high end Coral Gables steakhouse.
There are three different CCTV (closed-circuit television) videos of the Ponce De Leon/Miracle Mile cameras released by the Coral Gables Police Department on Friday.
One angle is in the player above and another is below.
The incident took place on Wednesday, Feb. 9 at Morton’s Steak House in Coral Gables.
According to the arrest affidavit, Gimenez, 44, approached the commissioner while he was having lunch and said, “Hey (expletive), do you remember me?” then struck de la Portilla on the side of the head with an open hand.
The commissioner’s Sergeant-At-Arms with the City of Miami Police Department was on official protection duty and witnessed the incident.
He detained Gimenez Jr. until officers from the Coral Gables Police Department arrived, but he wasn’t very cooperative, according to the police report.
The officer is quoted in the report, “I directed the defendant to stop and identify himself. The defendant refused and attempted to get away from me. I held onto the defendant by his coat and instructed him to calm down and stop resisting. The defendant stated, ‘You’re a City of Miami Police officer, you don’t have jurisdiction here.’ The defendant continued to resist until City of Coral Gables police officers arrived on scene.”
Gimenez Jr., who is a lawyer and lobbyist in Miami-Dade County, was booked into TGK Wednesday evening on a simple battery charge.
He was released from jail Thursday morning.
“You’ll see this is going to get dropped,” said Carlos Gimenez Jr. as he walked out of jail.
CBS4 News asked Gimenez Jr. if he wanted to clear anything up, or defend himself against the accusations from Diaz de la Portilla, to which he responded by saying, “No, I don’t need to defend myself. I’m dealing with a court issue, not a media issue.”
CBS4’s Peter D’Oench reached out to Gimenez to see if he would like to add anything to his earlier comments. He said he would like to see the process play out and said he did not want to add to his comments.
CBS4 also caught up with Gimenez with his wife on Friday at their home and while Gimenez said they could not comment, his wife Tania Cruz Gimenez said “Please contact our attorney Michael Band.” Band, who is a prominent defense attorney and former longtime prosecutor with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s office, said he could not comment because he was gathering all the facts.
D’Oench also spoke with defense attorney and former prosecutor Glenn Roderman who said “Battery is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and or a $1,000 fine and could also be a combination of jail or probation. Battery is the act of touching or striking another person against that person’s will without their permission or consent. It all depends how far the prosecutors want to push this case.There is also a diversion program where a defendant does some community service and gives a letter of apology and maybe some probation.”
Roderman said “I have handled a lot of cases as a defense attorney and former prosecutor and judge and each case is different. This may be pushed forward a lot to prosecute or it may be settled without prosecution.” He said the victim’s input carries a lot of weight.
In response to the incident, Diaz de la Portilla issued two statements, the first in English and it downplayed the incident.
“It was more like a flick of his wrist from behind me when I was having lunch as he cowardly approached me from behind and ran away. This guy is not known as a very courageous guy. Actually, he’s quite a coward and appeared to be under the influence.”
The second statement released by Diaz de la Portilla was in Spanish and translates to:
“As is usual for this individual, he tried in a cowardly manner to provoke me. And like a little girl, he brushed my hair with his fingernails. Men come from the front, not from behind.”
When asked about his opinion on Diaz de la Portilla’s statements, Gimenez Jr. said, “I will not respond to the comments of a corrupt politician.”
Diaz de la Portilla has declined to comment on camera.
Gimenez’ father, former Miami-Dade Mayor turned Congressman, issued a statement,
“I am aware of the incident surrounding my son’s arrest. This is a personal matter and do not have any further comment.”