Hallandale, FL – Two officers have been suspended without pay while their police department investigates what happened at an incident on Thursday afternoon that was partially captured on cellphone video (video below).
The Hallandale Beach Police Department posted a message on Twitter after the video was released that explained they’re working to obtain all of the video available of what took place during the arrest of 27-year-old Daniel Dunkelberger.
“We are aware of the video that was released to the media today. We ask the public and media to remain patient while we conduct a thorough and objective internal affairs investigation,” the department tweeted.
“We also would like the opportunity to obtain all video surveillance from the area,” they said.
Hallandale Beach Police Officers Jaime Cerna and Richard Allen were the officers who were suspended pending completion of their department’s internal affairs investigation, WPLG reported.
Officer Allen is a 35-year veteran of Hallandale Beach PD. Officer Cerna has been with the department for 11 years.
The incident began when police responded to a call on May 31 about a man who had stolen a cell phone and charger from a car in front of Max’s Car Wash, located in the 900-block of West Hallandale Beach Boulevard.
When police arrived on the scene and attempted to arrest Dunkelberger, he resisted and tried to run away. An officer deployed his Taser as the suspect tried to flee, according to WPLG.
Witnesses described a chaotic scene, only a small portion of which was captured on a cellphone video.
“The first guy started with the handcuffs, hitting him in the back of the head,” a man who said he was a witness told WPLG.
The video isn’t clear that the officer ever hit the suspect in the head, and no information was released about head injuries.
“When he started screaming, they got the cuff on him. But as he got the cuffs on, the other guy is taking him and shooting him with the Taser, punching him around the car,” he said.
The video shows the suspect’s arm free with only a single cuff on.
The video, which has quickly gone viral, began with the officers ordering Dunkelberger to get on the ground. Wires from the Taser in one officer’s hand appeared to still be attached to the suspect’s body, as he continued resisting arrest.
The officers struck the suspect with batons multiple times in their efforts to take him into custody, the video showed.
One of the officers hit Dunkelberger once in the upper body, but doesn’t appear to show a head strike as the witness claimed.
The officers were then able to take the suspect to the ground.
Once he was on the ground, Dunkelberger refused to comply with police commands to roll over so he could be handcuffed, the video showed.
In the video, an officer struck him in the legs once, forcing the Dunkelberger to roll onto his stomach, where officers proceeded to handcuff the suspect and take him into custody.
Dunkelberger was arrested and charged with burglary to an unoccupied vehicle and resisting arrest without violence, WSVN reported. He was transported to the hospital by ambulance before he was taken for booking.
His mother, Linda Dunkelberger, told WSVN that her son was “mentally challenged.”
“To be beating him, it makes no sense to me,” she said. “I don’t understand this.”
Hallandale Beach City Manager Roger Carlton expressed concern about the incident and said it would be thoroughly investigated.
“We are concerned, I want to be very candid about that,” Carlton said. “Like any city, we have crime and we want our people to be protected, but we also want everybody to be treated fairly.”
WPLG reported that Dunkelberger was a repeat offender with prior arrests dating back to 2008.
He was previously arrested on a variety of charges that ran the gamut from burglary to aggravated assault while armed, according to WPLG.
You can see the end of the fight in the video below: