A former SWAT officer was vacationing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida when a reported dispute between him and a hotel valet turned violent. John Henry Kiernan was staying at the Ocean Sky Hotel & Resort, and security video showed a startling end to a conversation he had with hotel employee Rudolph Rodriguez. The video doesn’t show much of the conversation before Kiernan can be seen suddenly decking Rodriguez with one punch that instantly sent the valet down to the ground.
Kiernan claims that he did nothing wrong, and that he felt threatened by Rodriguez during an argument they were having over a parking charge for a car belonging to a guest of Kiernan’s. Kiernan told NBC6 that Rodriguez threatened to get physical, which prompted him to take action.
“I guess he finally got irritated and looked at me and said ‘you are going to fight me,'” Kiernan said. “Based on everything I have dealt with in my life…and based on his body language, the way he spoke to me, I did feel he was going to go to physical contact,” he said. “So as soon as he said that I struck him one time and he went down.”
Rodriguez denied provoking Kiernan. “He punched me for no reason,” he told the news outlet, saying he didn’t remember what happened.
Police responded to the scene, but didn’t arrest Kiernan, who identified himself as a former officer. Prosecutors are still looking into potentially filing charges.
Nigel Blair, the hotel’s manager, told NBC6 that he hopes police end up arresting Kiernan for what happened. “You just can’t assault somebody and expect to just get away with it.”