A Miami police officer was relieved of duty Friday after a video showed him kicking a man in the head as he was being handcuffed.
The cellphone video shows David Suazo, 31, lying on the ground with his hands on his head. The first police officer approaches Suazo and begins to detain him. The video clearly shows that Suazo was not resisting as the handcuffs were being placed on him. However, another officer can then be seen running towards Suazo and kicking him in the head. The officer then drops to the ground and puts Suazo in a headlock.
The Miami Police Department has launched an internal investigation into the incident which will certainly result in a whitewash. The officer, Mario Figueroa, has been suspended with pay until the outcome of the investigation. The State Attorney for Miami-Dade County Katherine Fernandez Rundle says the department’s Public Corruption Unit has opened an investigation into the incident as well.
According to the police report, which doesn’t mention Suazo being assaulted, police were chasing Suazo Thursday morning after the vehicle he was driving reported in the police system as stolen. Police say officers tried to pull Suazo over but he drove into a residential area and crashed. Suazo fled on foot but gave up shortly.
Lisa Harrell, the witness who recorded the video, said she was shocked by what occurred.
"He stopped, put his hand on his head and got on his knees. Police told him to lay down and he did," Harrell told CNN. “And then the police just came and kicked him.”
The Miami Police Department has a record of excessive force cases and leniency in its investigations of excessive force. In 2013, the US Justice Department found that Miami police engaged in “a pattern of excessive force,” resulting in a high number of shootings. At one point, Miami officers fatally shot seven black men in just eight months.
Video shows Ohio police kicking handcuffed man on the ground
A Franklin Township, Ohio police officer has been placed on administrative leave after a video posted on social media shows a young man in handcuffs being kicked in the head as he lay on the ground.
According to police, Anthony Foster Jr., 18, was arrested Tuesday after he led police on a high-speed chase through residential neighborhoods that reached 90 miles per hour.
The cellphone video shows one officer holding Foster's hands behind him as he was being arrested, while another officer, identified as Rob Wells, comes around and kicks Foster in the head. Foster was laying on the ground, already handcuffed, and not resisting. As of this writing the video, posted on Twitter, has been viewed more than 659,000 times.
Wells’ attorney, Mark Collins, claimed that Wells did not know Foster was already detained. “My client did not know he was in handcuffs and in custody. He thought he was resisting,” he said.
The video tells a different story.
“He seems to walk nonchalantly and then at the very last second decides to kick his head like a football,” Foster's lawyer, Joseph Landusky, told local news 10tv.
“When I look at the video when I see a kid lying in the street motionless and another individual coming around wearing a police uniform nonchalantly kicking in the head like a football it's not something that's nice to watch. I don't know what happened leading up to this, he's charged with certain things, I don't know whether he was involved with those things or not and he's presumed innocent,” he said.
Foster’s family members say that he suffered a concussion and has cuts and bruises on his face.