2 ex-police officers in Florida charged with beating homeless man

MIAMI — Two ex-police officers in Miami, Florida, have reportedly been charged with beating a homeless man.

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Lorenzo Orfila, 27, and Rafael Otano, 22, turned themselves in on Thursday morning in Miami for allegedly beating a homeless man who was drinking at a shopping center last month, according to The Associated Press.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a news conference, according to the AP, that both men have been charged with kidnapping and battery. Orfila was additionally charged with official misconduct.

Fernandez Rundle said that the officers were called out to a shopping center on Dec. 17 about a homeless man who was frequenting the area, according to the AP. Orfila and Otano reportedly handcuffed the man, put him in a police vehicle, and allegedly drove him to a remote location a few miles away.

The officers allegedly beat the man and threw him to the ground, according to the AP.

The New York Times reported that Fernandez Rundle said surveillance video that was taken from the shopping center showed no reason why the man was taken into custody.

The homeless man was identified as Jose Ortega Gutierrez, 50, according to the newspaper.

Gutierrez reportedly lost consciousness during the beating, according to the Times. An off-duty Hialeah police officer walking his dog spotted him as he regained consciousness and called 911.

Gutierrez reportedly told the officer that two officers had been him, Fernandez Rundle said. He was taken to the hospital where he received treatment for his injuries.

Twelve days after the investigation, investigators reportedly learned that a civilian approached Gutierrez and allegedly offered him $1,200 to recant his original statement to police. According to Fernandez Rundle, he reportedly took the money but then told investigators that his original statement was accurate, according to the AP.

A third man, Ali Amin Saleh, 45, was additionally charged with witness tampering for trying to “cover up” what the officers did, according to the Times.

No further information has been released.