MIAMI, Fla. (WFLA) — The sister of a man who was seen on video being punched by a Miami firefighter said she wants justice, NBC affiliate WTVJ reported.
A video shows a patient, identified as Antonio Cruz, spitting in the direction of Robert Webster’s face. Webster then starts swinging and punching Cruz several times as his coworkers tried to stop him.
Webster was relieved of his duty as a lieutenant with the Miami Fire Rescue after the incident.
WTVJ reported that Cruz had been brought to the emergency room at Jackson Memorial Hospital on Oct. 15 after ingesting heroin and cocaine. Police said Cruz was “agitated and screaming to the rescue personnel” before the incident with Webster.
Cruz’s sister Janely Alayon told WTVJ that she saw the video on the news in New York, where she lives, and wanted to speak on her brother’s behalf.
“I was very disturbed when I saw it here in New York ’cause I don’t reside in Miami. We have family in Miami but I am in New York. I was more disturbed when I saw the video in the New York news and I believe Mr. Robert Webster made a comment that he wasn’t remorseful and he would repeat the action that he did if that was to happen again,” Alayon said in a video interview with WTVJ. “So he made a public service announcement and I wanted to make sure that my brother’s voice was heard as well cause unfortunately he’s incarcerated so I am his voice.”
Alayon told the news station that the video clip only tells part of the story. “We are only seeing a 40-second clip. I don’t think that’s fair,” she said.
Alayon said she is not defending her brother’s actions. She claims spitting was her brother’s only defense to an assault that Cruz said started while he was handcuffed in the ambulance.
WTVJ reported that those claims have not been confirmed by the hospital or the Miami Fire department.
Cruz’s family said that he battles with drug addiction and has a troubled past with the law. They said that doesn’t justify the repeated blows to his head.
Alayon told WTVJ that the type of behavior by Webster is unacceptable.
“I was appalled that I saw this man … physically assault my brother because my brother spat in his direction,” she said. “If you are a law enforcement, if you are a firefighter, if you’re a rescue, you don’t take matters into your owns hands, you don’t.”
Alayon told the news station that she believes Webster deserves harsher discipline.
“There’s consequences for every action and this man needs to be prosecuted, him being relieved of duty is not enough for us,” Alayon said. “He needs to be fired and prosecuted, you cannot put your hands on someone the way that you did.”
According to WTVJ, Webster recently decided to retire after 29 years with the fire department.