A day after police officers in Indiana, were caught on camera assaulting a schizophrenic African-American during a violent arrest, an officer in Florida was filmed brutally kicking a black man in the head — even though the victim was lying on the ground with his hands restrained behind his back.
The appalling incident took place in Miami and recorded by a bystander named Lisa Harrell. The footage showed a police officer approaching a black man, who was lying on his stomach, to put him in handcuffs. Moments later, another officer, later identified as Mario Figueroa, ran toward the victim and kicked him in the head so hard he almost lost his own balance. He then proceeded to grab the man’s head and push it down.
“He was down already. Didn’t have to kick him!!! I will not let this go unnoticed,” Harrell wrote on Facebook. “He was not resisting arrest he got on his knees and put his hands on his head. He WILLINGLY LAID DOWN.”
The victim has been identified as David Vladim Suazo, 31, who allegedly stole a Jeep Cherokee before crashing it into a concrete wall and trying to run away from the officers, according to BuzzFeed News. Police said Suazo “took a fighting stance” when the officers ordered him to get on the ground, which led an officer to deploy his taser. The officials said Suazo was “placed at taser point and was given verbal commands to get on the ground.”
This was shortly before Figueroa, a 2-year police veteran, kicked him, as show in the video above.
“He ran around and then he was face-to-face with police,” Harrell told the Miami Herald. “He put his hands on his head. The police said lay down. He did. And then the police just came and kicked him.”
After Harrell posted the video online and sent a copy to the city of Miami, the Miami Police Department released statement, saying the footage “depicts a clear violation of policy.”
Figueroa has been suspended, with pay, while the case is being investigated.
“On today’s date, the City of Miami Police Department received a video on an incident involving one of my officers. The video depicts a clear violation of policy,” Miami Police Department Chief Jorge Colina explained. “The officer has been relieved of duty and the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office has been contacted.”
The city’s mayor applauded the department for taking the matter seriously.
“I'm very happy the chief took swift, immediate action,” said Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.
State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle also released a statement.
“I have watched today’s Culmer Place video involving a uniformed City of Miami Police Officer and I was shocked and appalled by what I saw,” she stated. “Assistant State Attorney Johnette Hardiman, of my Public Corruption Unit, has been assigned to immediately open an investigation.”
Meanwhile, Suazo faces a number of charges from grand theft to fleeing an officer.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, Harrison McClary