A Miami skateboarder who fractured his skull when he slammed into a garage's concrete wall could face criminal charges for claiming a group of black men assaulted him, police said today.
Rene Betancourt, 22, told police that on July 7 he was attacked by a group of men while skateboarding in downtown Miami. According to the police report, he claimed the assault took place during an attempted robbery.
But surveillance video from a nearby office building released on Friday shows Betancourt skate boarding in the garage and plunging face first into a concrete wall of the garage.
The impact left him unconscious and lying on the ground for nearly five minutes. After waking up, Betancourt stands up in a daze and stumbles into the garage's elevator.
Betancourt's family found him slumped in his car, bloodied and bruised. After rushing him to a hospital, doctors determined he had a fractured skull, fractured orbital bone, with blood clots and lacerations in his head.
"All we had from the beginning was three to four black males," says Napier Velazquez of the Miami Police Department. "As the police department, we gather info on the scene, so we assume that all the information is valuable. We don't question where they [the victims] get their information from."
But the video, he said, "changed the entire investigation."
Sgt. Eunice Cooper, commander of the Miami Homicide Unit, told ABCNews.com, "The case is still open pending further investigation."
When asked whether Betancourt could be charged with filing a false report, Cooper said, "We have not reached a decision on that because we're still investigating."
Andrea Betancourt, the man's sister, told ABC's Miami affiliate WPLG that she and her family were relieved upon seeing the video.
"We're just relieved that nobody was trying to hurt him or worse, kill him," said Andrea Betancourt. She said her brother was confused and still doesn't remember anything. She claims that doctors, police, and the victim's father convinced her brother that, judging from his injuries, he had been assaulted.