Earlier this summer, bare-bones bar Dirty Blondes on Fort Lauderdale Beach absorbed sweeping castigation after its bouncers beat two men and the incident was caught on video.
But, as this week's New Times cover story has found, police have incentive to side with the bars whenever there's an altercation between bouncers and patrons. That's because the cops work lucrative off-duty shifts at these bars -- shifts that are highly paid and poorly monitored.
In our cover story, nine separate people who either witnessed or experienced bouncer-inflicted violence claim responding police -- some of whom net $600 per week working off-duty detail at beach bars -- either threatened charges upon victims, ignored the altercation altogether, or filed a report that misrepresented events. And perhaps there's no clearer proof of this sometimes-murky relationship between bars and the off-duty cops than the following video.
On July 28, after Alex Coelho and friend David Parker returned to the bar after being beaten by bouncers, police who often work off-duty on that strip arrested them on charges of disorderly conduct. Coelho also netted an additional felony charge of battery of a law enforcement officer after the arresting officer, Marc DeCarlo -- a longtime off-duty cop at Fort Lauderdale Beach bars -- claimed Coelho had "unprovoked, suddenly approached me and with both hands pushed this officer in the chest pushing me back."
But this new video New Times has obtained shows DeCarlo doing the pushing.
Charges against Coelho have since been dropped.
You can find our full report on the relationship between off-duty Fort Lauderdale Police and beach bars here.
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