A controversial Miami-Dade prosecutor is under scrutiny again after he was charged with punching a tardy pizza delivery woman.
BY DAVID OVALLE
For Miami-Dade County prosecutor David Ranck, a Domino's pizza accomplished what courtroom outbursts and a whistle-blower lawsuit against his own boss could not: It got him temporarily thrown off the job.
Ranck, 54, was suspended without pay Monday after he was accused of punching a tardy pizza delivery woman trying to deliver a pie to his Miami Beach condo.
According to Miami Beach police, officers on Saturday found Ranck standing next to the car of pizza woman Yudisceus Rodriguez de Armas, who was locked inside ``shaking and in tears.''
He was charged with misdemeanor battery and signed papers promising to appear in court.
To avoid a conflict, the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office has asked the governor to appoint a prosecutor from another county to handle his prosecution.
Ranck was in the news after he filed a federal lawsuit last fall against his bosses, claiming he was unfairly suspended for posting on the Internet an internal memo detailing his misgivings about a fatal police shooting.
Reached by e-mail Monday, Ranck said: ``I am sorry, but I cannot comment under these circumstances.''
His lawyer, Allan Kaiser, declined to comment on the case. But he did say: ``At this point, I'm wondering where his pizza is. He never got his pizza.''
This is what happened, according to Miami Beach police reports: Ranck ordered a pizza Saturday night. When Rodriguez arrived, she called Ranck's cellphone because she could not get into his gated condo building.
From the balcony, Ranck began yelling at her, she told police. She speaks Spanish and did not understand Ranck. Ranck came downstairs and knocked off Rodriguez's Domino's visor, then punched her in the arm, ''leaving a bright red mark,'' the report said.
A neighbor, roused by the commotion, witnessed the battery, the report said.
Ranck admitted hitting Rodriguez, but only after she struck him with her cellphone, he said. When Ranck stepped in front of her car, he claimed, Rodriguez drove it toward him, tapping his thigh.
''These cases are always disappointing anytime anyone -- support staff or lawyers in this office -- engage in this behavior that violates the law,'' State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle said Monday, declining further comment.
Ranck has a tumultuous history with the office in recent years.
In 2005, he was disciplined after cursing at a defense lawyer during a murder trial. A mistrial was declared and the accused killer was freed by an appeals court earlier this year.
Last August, Ranck sued Fernández Rundle and her top two assistants after she suspended him without pay for 30 days because he posted an internal memo about a controversial police shooting on an Internet legal blog.
In the memo, Ranck expressed misgivings about whether the shooting was justified, and protested his removal from the case after intervention from a Miami-Dade police major. A key hearing in Ranck's federal lawsuit is set for June 12.
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