I was the 24-year-old ASA, fresh out of law school in Philadelphia, who had weekend bond hearing duty in 1982 when that case came in. I remember that A-form like it was yesterday, and remember thinking to myself, "Toto, we are not in Kansas anymore." The A-form recited, "This unit was southbound on US 1 Dixie Highway, when I saw the subject standing under the Metro Rail station holding a human head. This unit told the subject to "Drop that head," at which time the subject flung the head at this unit." I also recall homicide detectives following the trail of blood a few blocks to an apartment, where they found the headless body of a woman, clothed only in a tank top that read, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but whips and chains excite me." For what it's worth, I do not recall the officer throwing the head back at the defendant.
Dave Troyer, ASA 1982-1990
Dave Troyer, ASA 1982-1990
City of Miami Commander Freddie D'Agostino retired on Friday after a long and distinguished career punctuated by one distinctly Miami 1980's moment.
D'Agostino was a beat cop. A local guy who patrolled little Havana and Coconut Grove. One year, when he joined SWAT, he received 75 commendations. President Clinton named him one of the top ten police officers in the nation that year.
In 1985, before most ASAs and some judges were born, Miami was a town in the grip of the crack epidemic. Those buildings on Brickell- faux art deco that now look faded and dated? Built and funded with narco cash flowing through local banks. In 1979, rival drug dealers opened fire on each other at Dadeland Mall with machine guns as shoppers dived for cover. Griselda Blanco filled the ME's morgue with bodies, ordering hits with a glance or a twitch of her pinky.
It was chaos.
In 1980, after four Miami Police Officers were acquitted in the death of Arthur McDuffie, the city erupted and burned and we and our fellow lawyers walked into the Metro Justice Building under the protection of the National Guard that Governor Graham ordered deployed.
ASAs left their jobs on a Friday, and had $50,000 in cash on cases by the end of the month- if the first month was slow.
Time Magazine trashed Miami on the cover as "Paradise Lost?"
It was an exciting and glorious time to be a criminal lawyer at the center of it all. Herald Crime Reporter Edna Buchanan covered it all- showing up at crime scenes, big cocaine busts (nobody really got worked up over a case less than five kilos) and won a Pulitzer Prize for her reporting.
And one day thirty-two years ago at the Metro-Rail station by Bird Road, while on routine patrol, a man threw the severed head of his girlfriend at twenty-four year old Officer Freddy D'Agostino, who- startled, threw it back. The man threw it again at Officer D'Agostino. Yes, Officer D'Agostino was hit not once-but twice- with a severed head.
And now 32 years later, having done his duty and given back to his community and made Miami a safer place for all of us, Commander D'Agostino has retired.
The Herald covered his career and retirement here.
Thank you Commander D'Agostino. We've been in court with you more than a few times. You were always one of the good guys. Well done. Well done indeed. Enjoy a well deserved retirement.
From Occupied America...Fight the Power!