The Miami Herald
December 6, 2012

A Miami Beach police officer fired last year for his role in an alleged gay bashing case is getting his job back. Eliut Hazzi was one of two officers accused of beating a handcuffed gay man in South Beach’s Flamingo Park in 2009 and then arresting a witness. He was fired last year during a tumultuous summer for the department, but fought to get his badge back and won a case Tuesday before an independent arbitrator. “He’s very eager to get back to work and put this all behind him,” said police union president Sgt. Alejandro Bello, who spoke to Hazzi last night. Hazzi and Officer Frankly Forte came under scrutiny after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the officers and the city in 2010 on behalf of a California tourist who said the plain-clothes officers wrongly arrested him almost a year earlier. The incident began about 1 a.m. on March 13, 2009 as Harold Strickland, a former Beach resident visiting from Los Angeles, walked past Flamingo Park near 14th Street and Michigan Avenue. He called 911 when he said he saw a man being beaten by two men just outside the park. “I saw a guy running and then I saw two, what looked like undercover cops running. And they pushed this guy down on the ground, the one cop did, and the other cop came up as if he was kicking a football — and kicked the guy in the head,” Strickland said during a recorded phone conversation.