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Monday marks the beginning of a criminal trial for two men accused of impersonating police officers at Little Havana’s Versailles restaurant earlier this year.
In January, police say Ismael Diaz, 51, and Alberto Nunez-Horta, 48, were arrested after impersonating and assaulting law enforcement officers.
The restaurant says for several days at various hours, the pair spoke with customers and portrayed themselves as agents with the FBI. As part of the alleged ruse, they brought a dog that looks like a police dog with them.
Since then the charges of impersonating an officer have been dropped. But, charges of fighting with police officers still stand.
However, at a hearing on Wednesday, Nunez says none of it happened.
“I never grabbed none of the officers by the neck or punch him like they said, because it’s in the video,” Nunez told a judge. He dismissed his private attorney Megan Roth at the hearing and was appointed a public defender.
Surveillance cameras recorded the January incident.
The video shows words are exchanged first with Diaz. Nunez is seen waving his hands, and then the fight begins. Police say Nunez choked and punched the detective before he could fight back and that he also jumped in and struck the detective while holding onto his dog. The fight is seen spilling down into the parking lot.
Another camera also captured Nunez approaching the detective and, police say, becoming verbally aggressive before the punches started flying. The two other Miami detectives are also seen getting into the fray.
Nunez holds the belief that the footage actually proves his innocence.
“The truth is on those videos,” Nunez said.
Both Nunez and Diaz entered not guilty pleas for the charges they still face.