Video Shows Miami Cop Kicking Handcuffed Man in Head - Officer Is Still Being Paid

Human Rights

In a speech last year, Donald Trump said he thinks the police should be rougher with people during arrests. But we know that they are plenty rough already—and very often without cause. It seems like every day a new video emerges of police misconduct and brutality toward the people they are supposed to protect, especially when they are people of color. And because today is a day that ends in “y”,  yet another video showing police abuse toward a black person has come out, this time in Miami. 

The latest from BuzzFeed

A Miami police officer has been relieved of duty after he was caught on video kicking a defenseless, handcuffed man in the head.

The incident happened Thursday morning after two officers pursued a Jeep Cherokee that was suspected of being stolen into an apartment complex, according to a police report obtained by BuzzFeed News. The man behind the wheel allegedly crashed the Jeep into a concrete wall, then fled from officers on foot before he was finally restrained.

After one officer handcuffed the suspect, another officer ran toward the man and kicked him in the head. A bystander caught the moment on video and posted it to Facebook.

The video shows the man lying on the ground, face down, with his hands behind his back before he is handcuffed. Then, from out of nowhere, another officer approaches and kicks the man—in the head. Seriously, he runs up and kicks an already restrained, already handcuffed, not resisting, man in the head. Apparently, this officer thinks that policing is an opportunity to live out his wildest soccer fantasies, using another person’s cranium. You cannot make this stuff up.

The police department has at least publicly recognized that this is not okay. This would seem to be a good start. Except that, even though you can see him unlawfully abusing a suspect on video, this officer is still receiving pay. The matter is supposedly being investigated.

Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina said in a statement Thursday that the video "depicts a clear violation of policy."

"The officer has been relieved of duty and the Miami-Dade State Attorney's office has been contacted," Colina added.

The relieved officer is Mario Figueroa, a 2-year veteran of the department, Miami Police spokesperson Kenia Fallat told BuzzFeed News in an email Thursday. He has been relieved with pay while the incident is being investigated.

We have no reason to believe that this police officer will be charged since it seems like they can do whatever they want and get away with it. And the suspect, David Suazo is black. We know the police have a persistent pattern of endangering black lives and no one bats an eye. Also, it’s pretty amazing that policing is a profession where you can get caught engaged in misconduct, unlawful, abusive behavior and still get relieved with pay. How long before Figueroa is out there again kicking other suspects? How many has he kicked like this before? Would he still be receiving pay had he kicked a white man? There are so many questions here which will likely never get answered. And it seems like Donald Trump is getting his wish. The way Jeff Sessions is running the Justice Department and undoing any measures to protect us from abuse and hold local law enforcement accountable, means that, for the foreseeable future, police will get to be as rough with the public as they please.

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