UPDATE, September 19: This story has been updated to incorporate responses from the Fort Lauderdale mayor and police department.
The City of Fort Lauderdale has filed fresh charges against David Parker, who was one of two men beaten by bouncers at Dirty Blondes earlier this summer in a graphically violent video that sparked sweeping outrage across South Florida, his lawyer told New Times yesterday.
In late July, authorities charged Parker, 28, with two counts of resisting arrest without violence and one count of disorderly conduct. Those charges have now been
dismissed dropped -- replaced with a slew of fresh new, different charges.
"Obviously, he's disappointed," explained attorney David Kubiliun. "Especially when you get your butt kicked for no reason whatsoever and then they give you more charges on top of that."
Earlier this month, on September 10, Parker was charged with trespassing, threatening words, and engaging in fighting, according to court records.
"We're prepared to give him his day in court," Kubiliun said. "It's very disappointing, but we're going to see this through to the end."
Alex Coelho, the 28-year-old man who was bloodied and had his head stomped in the viral video, has already escaped all charges from the incident. Late last month, allegations of battery and disorderly conduct were dropped.
"Mr. Coelho and I were relieved by the news of all charges being dropped, as we have steadfastly maintained that Mr. Coelho was the victim of the brutal assault and battery by the employees of Dirty Blondes," attorney David A. Eddy said at the time.
But bouncer Abraham Zayas, who works at Exit 66, claims Parker returned to Dirty Blondes after the melee to confront the bouncers -- and wanted to pick a fight. "The bar is private property, and after you're asked to leave, it's trespassing to be there," he told New Times.
Zayas explained that no one at the bar wanted to fire the three bouncers who were involved in the fight, "but the mayor and the police chief called and said it was the only way to make things go away a bit."
UPDATE: Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler denies he ever called anyone at Dirty Blondes to recommend the firing of anyone, referring to that allegation as "double hearsay." His full statement is below.
Attorney Kubiliun says such a relationship between a bar and authorities may represent a conflict of interest. "Is there bias? Certainly. So we'll fight it in court and we'll see what happens."
Parker declined to comment when reached by New Times.
Jack Seiler responds to the claim he advised termination of a bouncer:
"I didn't speak to those guys about personnel issues. Their personnel issues are their personnel issues. I never told them to fire someone or not to fire someone. Then this lawyer paints the city in some light like we have a conflict of interest... I spoke to the [owner of Dirty Blondes] after the incident about negative press, safety and security issues on the beach, and the city's image. But we never discussed employees. I wouldn't even know the names of the bouncers."
Frank Sousa, Fort Lauderdale police spokesperson, also asked to clarify several points:
1) Sousa says the charges of trespassing, fighting words, and engaging in fighting refer to Parker's returning to the bar after the initial incident that was caught on video. "Parker returned to the rear of the business more than an hour later, and challenging the bar employees to a physical fight. When Ofc. Baxter approached Parker and told him he was under arrest, Parker took flight but was subsequently apprehended," Sousa wrote in an e-mail.
2) Sousa explains that the original charges were dropped, and the more recent charges do not constitute a "re-file." "It was a separate illegal act for him to return to the property and initiate a physical confrontation," he said.
3) Sousa says: "Neither the police chief nor the mayor ever directed the owner to take any actions against their employees. The police chief never spoke with the owner."
4) Sousa adds: "Finally, the Police Department immediately cancelled the off-duty detail at Blondie's while this matter is pending."
Here's the video:
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.