MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - Shaquille O’Neal provided an assist to police over the weekend, trailing a man who allegedly assaulted a gay couple before alerting an arresting officer.
The 7-foot-1 Miami Heat center, who is in the process of becoming a Miami Beach reserve officer, was driving on South Beach around 3 a.m. Sunday. He saw a passenger in a car yell anti-gay slurs at the couple, who were walking, said Bobby Hernandez, a spokesman for the Miami Beach Police Department.
The man then got out of the car and threw a bottle, hitting one of the pedestrians, who was not seriously hurt. The man got back in the car, which sped off. O’Neal followed, flagging down an officer who made an arrest, Hernandez said.
Michael Gonzalez, 18, was arrested on charges of aggravated assault and assault with a deadly weapon. The driver of the car was not charged.
O’Neal, who hopes to be a police chief or county sheriff one day, was already being fitted for his Miami Beach police uniform before he helped the police out.
“For this incident I don’t want to be credited as an individual who does police work,” O’Neal said in a statement. “I want to be credited as a Miami Beach police officer.”
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