Miami, FL – A Miami police officer was suspended on Thursday after a video surfaced on Facebook that showed him kicking a suspect in the head while the man was being handcuffed (video below).
“The video depicts a clear violation of policy,” Miami Police Chief Jorge R. Colina said in a statement, The Washington Post reported.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle ordered an investigation that could lead to possible prosecution of the officer, who has been identified as Miami Police Officer Mario Figueroa, the Miami Herald reported.
The incident took place just before 10 a.m. on Thursday, when Miami police officers chased a suspected car thief into Culmer Apartments on Northwest Eighth Street and Seventh Avenue in the Overtown section of Miami.
Resident Lisa Harrell captured the end of the chase on video as the suspect, 31-year-old David Vladim Suazo, found himself trapped in a courtyard of the apartment complex, the Miami Herald reported.
Harrell told the Miami Herald she saw Suazo running back and forth through courtyards in the apartment complex until he realized he had no way out, and gave himself up.
“He ran around and then he was face-to-face with police,” Harrell said. “He put his hands on his head. The police said lay down. He did. And then the police just came and kicked him.”
In the video, Suazo was prone on the grass with his arms behind his back. An officer went over and began to put handcuffs on him.
Then, from the right side of the screen, Officer Figueroa ran towards the suspect and delivered a running kick to his head, before jumping on top of him to assist with the arrest, the video showed.
The police report was released on late Thursday afternoon and explained that officers had spotted the suspect in a stolen Jeep Cherokee and pursued him.
Suazo crashed the Jeep over the sidewalk and into a walk, before he jumped out and fled on foot, according to the report.
Police said that at first, when officers caught up with him, Suazo had refused to comply with police commands, the Miami Herald reported.
The police report said Suazo took a fighting stance at Officer Figueroa and the officer deployed his Taser at the suspect, but it was ineffective.
Then another officer fired a Taser at Suazo and took him to the ground, the report said.
The report does not mention Officer Figueroa’s kick to the suspect’s head, the Miami Herald reported.
Fernandez Rundle said she watched the video “with indignation” and has instructed Assistant State Attorney Johnette Hardiman, of the department’s public corruption unit, to immediately start an investigation.
“I was shocked and appalled by what I saw,” the state attorney said.
Officer Figueroa was immediately suspended, pending an investigation. He has been a member of the Miami PD for two years.
Suazo was charged with vehicle theft, fleeing a police officer, reckless driving, driving with a suspended license, leaving the scene of an accident, and resisting an officer without violence, The Washington Post reported.
Watch the officer take a running kick at the suspect’s head in the video below: