Valet punched, knocked out by customer complaining about fee

A customer angered by an $18 fee punched the valet in the face.

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – An $18 parking fee allegedly led to a valet being knocked unconscious by an irate customer in front of a Ft. Lauderdale hotel.

It happened fast. Surveillance video from the Ocean Sky Hotel & Resort in Fort Lauderdale shows the valet having a conversation with a man when the man suddenly punches the valet in the face, dropping him to the ground. The man then straddled the valet and puts his hands on him as people from the hotel come rushing out.

Rodolfo Rodriguez is the valet on the video.

“He upset, upset with the price of the parking lot,” Rodriguez said. “He said, ‘I gonna fight you.’”

That’s the last thing Rodriguez remembers before being hit.

“Knocked out,” he said. “I was five minutes on the ground and I don’t remember after that.”

The hotel’s surveillance video reveals the entire episode — from showing a woman having a discussion with the valet (the hotel’s night manager said the woman was at the hotel with the puncher) to the punch a few minutes later and the fact that it took police about 14 minutes to arrive to the scene and paramedics about 15 minutes to arrive. That last fact makes night manager Mark Dyer angry.

“Could you imagine what could have happened to this guy?” Dyer asked. “He could have had a brain hemorrhage. His eyes were rolling into the back of his head.”

Dyer said he saw the punch. He said the puncher’s wife was inside the hotel complaining about the $18 parking fee at the time.

“Nobody should be attacked like that,” Dyer said. “Nobody should go through the pain and suffering that Rodolfo’s going through. It’s a savage attack.”

Dyer said he spoke to the puncher after the attack. He said the man identified himself as a former cop in the Atlanta area and as a former DEA agent.

“He was very arrogant,” Dyer said. “‘Oh, I have an $80,000 vehicle, why should I have to pay for parking?’” Dyer said the puncher said. “I’m like, ‘You just punched somebody. You assaulted somebody and you want to talk about an $80,000 vehicle? I said, ‘What a scumbag.’”

Dyer and others cannot understand why the puncher wasn’t immediately arrested and charged.

“He needs to go to jail,” Dyer said. “I think he poses a threat to the community.”

Cpt. Frank Sousa, a spokesman for the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, told CBS4 News that the night of the punch the hotel was not able to provide them the video so they didn’t see how bad this was.

Initially, the cops considered this a misdemeanor battery.

Sousa said detectives got the video Friday and are planning to speak with the victim.

CBS4 News tried to get in touch with the puncher but he did not return our calls and texts.

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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