Handcuffed Man Spits at Firefighter, Gets Punched

Suspended Miami firefighter says 'consider my actions public education'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 16, 2022 12:33 PM CST

Robert Webster, a City of Miami Fire Rescue lieutenant, was suspended in October after punching an arrested man handcuffed to a stretcher—and he says he doesn't regret it. Video made public this week shows Antonio Cruz spitting in the direction of Webster's face in the emergency room of Jackson Memorial Hospital, the Washington Post reports. Webster immediately punched the man as police officers tried to pull him away. "If he never knew the consequence of spitting in a grown man’s face, then consider my actions public education and this video a PSA," Webster tells NBC6.

Authorities say Cruz was being taken into custody on Oct. 15 when he asked for paramedics to come because he had taken heroin and cocaine, the Post reports. According to a police report, he was "agitated and screaming" as he was brought into the hospital. The police report states that Cruz spit in Webster's direction, who "immediately approached the defendant and struck him with a closed fist to his face." Cruz was arrested—again—and charged with aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer. The Miami Department of Fire-Rescue says Webster was immediately relieved of duty and he will remain suspended while an investigation is underway. (More firefighter stories.)

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