Despite an internal investigation revealing that Miami-Dade County cops lied about beating up a black man last year, no charges have been filed against the officers yet.
On March 27, 2017, Ephraim Casado threw a bottle from his car, which somehow resulted in him being repeatedly punched in the face, smashed into the asphalt, and swung into the air by his arms before being arrested by cops for “resisting an officer with violence,” criminal mischief, and misdemeanor cannabis possession, according to the Miami New Times.
Prosecutors dropped the case against Casado after further review of the officers’ body camera footage. They found that the video directly contradicted the cops’ accounts of what occurred. Even after learning that the detectives punched the suspect on video, which they later lied about in their affidavits, State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle’s office never charged them.
"I reviewed the body-worn camera footage and was troubled by what I saw," Assistant State Attorney Natalie Pueschel wrote in an Aug. 9 close-out memorandum clearing Casado of any wrongdoing. "It is my belief that these officers were less-than-truthful about the actual events that occurred during this incident."
MDPD Internal Affairs cleared the officers here of wrongdoing. While Miami-Dade's prosecutor's office even wrote in a close-out memo that the cops were "less than truthful" on reports, the State Attorney's Office also has charged no one https://t.co/PlTFIgf2ck pic.twitter.com/i0vOhKpfXu— Jerry Iannelli (@jerryiannelli) June 26, 2018
A spokesperson from the department maintained that Internal Affairs determined that Pueschel’s account of what happened was inaccurate and confirmed that the two officers involved in the beating are still on active duty. Apparently, the department’s internal affairs probe “revealed no criminal or administrative wrongdoing; therefore, there is no disciplinary action forthcoming."
Essentially, blatantly lying in a sworn affidavit seems to not count as administrative wrongdoing, according to the department.
One example of the cops' lies is that they initially claimed Casado refused to pull over, and when he did finally stop, he exited his car “concealing his hands” before “committing a battery upon the detective.”
The bodycam footage, however, shows Casado getting out of his car calmly with his hands raised in the air as cops forced him out at gunpoint and proceeded to punch him.
In one of the videos, Casado yelled “You just punched me in the face!” after one of the officer’s struck him, to which the cop callously replied, “F***ing right I did.”
Casado has since filed a lawsuit in federal court against the department and the specific officers involved. His attorney, Igor Hernandez, said that Casado was on house arrest for four months before prosecutors dropped the case against him. Within that time, he missed out on a new job opportunity because he was stuck at home.
"This case should not have been filed, but they proceeded due to all the allegations that the cops made up," Hernandez said. "The physical aspect of this case is one thing, but the loss of liberty too was probably even worse. Plus, this is just not right — cops can’t just be doing this kind of stuff."
There is so much evidence of clear dishonesty and concealment in police departments throughout the country, yet people wonder why communities of color distrust the cops.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Javier Galeano