Off-Duty Police Officer Fired For Kicking Eight Months Pregnant Woman In The Stomach - Miami Beach
There was soon to be few chances for Evoni Murray to enjoy a carefree nighttime stroll in Miami Beach.
Murray was eight months pregnant Wednesday. And her Aug. 4 due date loomed as she walked in the sweltering summer heat with the father-to-be.
Then the couple encountered off-duty police officer Ambar Pacheco. A confrontation began, during which, Murray says, Pacheco kicked her in the stomach.
Murray, 27, was in severe pain, a responding officer wrote in a report, and was possibly having contractions on the street. The baby was coming - nine days early.
Murray was rushed to a hospital, and Joseph Predelus III came into the world after seven minutes of labor, his father Joseph, 40, told WSVN.
Across town, Pacheco, 26, was arrested and charged for aggravated battery, according to a Miami Beach Police Department affidavit provided to The Washington Post.
North Miami Beach Police Chief William Hernandez fired Pacheco from the force less than two days later.
"Due to Ms. Ambar Pacheco's recent off-duty actions, her employment with the City of North Miami Beach has been terminated effective immediately," Hernandez said Friday in a brief statement. She had been with the force less than a year and was in a probationary period, the Miami Herald reported.
Details surrounding the incident are unclear. The arrest affidavit does not say how or why the confrontation started. But Ambar Pacheco told police that Predelus kicked her sister in the face, which prompted her violent reaction.
"I saw red and beat the s- out of [Murray]," Pacheco said, according to the affidavit. She later said she couldn't recall who she kicked, the document says.
Murray is described in the affidavit as "visibly pregnant."
Predelus denied assaulting Pacheo's younger sister, 21-year-old Mikaela Pacheco, and suggested that the women were intoxicated.
"I never did no kicking, nothing. I never touched nobody," Predelus told WSVN. "All I did was defend my baby mother and a child. To me, I don't put my hands on women, and that's how it should be, especially a pregnant woman, too."
In an interview with CBS Miami, Murray speculated that the confrontation with the sisters began from a misunderstanding.
"We were walking down the sidewalk enjoying the night and we saw them," she told the station. "These girls were crying. Then they thought we were talking about them, which was not true. They got belligerent and tried to jump because they thought I said something."
A conviction for assaulting a known pregnant woman carries a maximum of 15 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine in Florida, according to law firm Hussein & Webber.
Murray and the Pacheco sisters could not be reached for comment. Predelus told The Post that his newborn son and Murray are doing well, but he declined to comment further.
Mount Sinai Medical Center, where Murray delivered her baby, did not respond to a request seeking comment. It is unclear if the alleged assault caused the premature birth, but physical trauma or injuries can contribute to early labor, according to a Mayo Clinic fact sheet.
Murray told CBS that she hopes Pacheco gets help as she enters the criminal justice system.
"It kind of troubles me to know that the people who are supposed to be serving and protecting us are hurting us," Murray she told the station. "I know it's not all of them and one apple doesn't spoil the bunch. It's just that sometimes you get a bad seed."
Alex Horton, The Washington Post
(Excluding for the Headline, this article ("story") has not been edited by MiBiz News and is published from a web feed or sourced from the Internet.)