What to Know
- Video was shot inside the Culmer Apartment complex in the Overtown neighborhood around 10 a.m. and posted on social media.
- The officer runs toward a man who is handcuffed on the ground and appears to not be resisting arrest.
- Miami Police Department Chief Jorge Colina released a statement saying the officer had been relieved of duty.
A video released Thursday showing a Miami police officer kicking a handcuffed man in the head has led to that officer being relieved of duty.
The footage was captured inside the Culmer Apartment complex in the Overtown neighborhood around 10 a.m. and posted on social media. It shows the officer, identified as Mario Figueroa, running toward a man who is handcuffed on the ground and appears to not be resisting arrest.
The officer kicks the man in the head before jumping on top as several other officers arrive to the scene.
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Miami Police Department Chief Jorge Colina released a statement saying Figueroa has been suspended with pay while the case is 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," the statement reads. "The officer has been relieved of duty and the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office has been contacted."
State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle released a statement saying the incident is under investigation.
"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," her statement read. "Assistant State Attorney Johnette Hardiman, of my Public Corruption Unit, has been assigned to immediately open an investigation."
According to an arrest report, the suspect who was kicked, 31-year-old David Vladim Suazo, had been spotted by officers driving a stolen Jeep Cherokee.
When the officers tried to stop him, Suazo sped away, driving into the complex at a high rate of speed before reaching a dead end, where he lost control and hit a concrete wall, the report said.
Suazo ran off and there was a brief foot chase until Suazo reached a fenced-in field near Northwest 6th Avenue and 8th Street, the report said.
The report said Suazo took a "fighting stance," then tried to run away as officers told him to get on the ground.
One of the officers used a Taser but it didn't stop Suazo, who continued to run before he was taken into custody, the report said.
The report said multiple officers were wearing body cameras during the arrest.
Suazo was charged with grand theft of a vehicle, fleeing or eluding a police officer, reckless driving and driving with a suspended license.
"No matter what he did he was already on the ground handcuffed, he's no longer a threat to you or anybody, regardless of what it is he did he's no longer a threat," said Suazo's sister, Maritza Valerio.
Officials said Figueroa has been an officer for two years.
"That kind of conduct is unacceptable in the City of Miami and anytime that an officer abuses his power, we will hold that officer accountable," Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said.