Cops Charged With Battery After Kicking Handcuffed Man and Tackling Man Trying to Record Arrest
Five Miami Beach police officers are facing criminal charges after a shocking video caught them repeatedly kicking a handcuffed man and then tackling and repeatedly punching another man who was recording the arrest on his cellphone.
According to Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, the incident occurred on July 26 when a police officer chased 24-year-old Dalonta Crudup into the Royal Palm Hotel in South Beach after he allegedly struck a bicycle cop with a scooter.
Miami Beach police say they were trying to conduct a traffic stop on Crudup because he had illegally parked the scooter at Ninth Street and Ocean Court. Police said after Crudup fled the scene, he hit one of the bicycle officers with his scooter.
Surveillance video from the hotel shows Crudup run into the hotel and try to get on the elevator before a lone officer stops him at gunpoint.
After surrendering and laying on the ground with his hands behind his back, 20 more officers swarm into the hotel and pile on Crudup.
“It is at this point the situation begins to change, in our opinion, from a legitimate arrest of a criminal suspect into an ongoing investigation of the use of force by five Miami Beach police officers,” Fernandez Rundle said at a news conference on Monday.
During the press conference, Fernandez Rundle played a four-minute compilation of body camera and security camera footage showing the incident.
In the video, Officer Kevin Perez can be seen kicking Crudup at least four times while he is on the ground with other officers on top of him. At one point, Officer Perez can also be seen lifting Crudup and slamming him to the ground. While going over the video at the press conference, Fernandez Rundle points out that Crudup’s head hits the floor as he is thrown to the ground by Officer Perez referring to the section of the video as the “head slam.”
Sgt. Jose Perez can also be seen kicking Crudup in the head while he is face down on the ground and in handcuffs.
Other officers then turned on 28-year-old Khalid Vaughn, who was standing in the hotel lobby filming Crudup’s arrest with his cell phone. According to Fernandez Rundle, Vaughn was standing approximately 12 to 15 feet away when officers approached him.
Body camera video shows officer Robert Sabater tackling Vaughn, as he appears to be backing away. Officers David Rivas and Steven Serrano allegedly helped Sabater pin Vaughn against a concrete pillar while all three officers punched him multiple times.
According to Fernandez Rundle, Vaughn was arrested and charged with impeding, provoking and harassing officers, however charges were dropped after she viewed the videos.
Crudup was charged with several counts, including aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer. The cop he allegedly struck was hospitalized and is on crutches, officials announced.
Crudup denies hitting the officer with the scooter and said it was not illegally parked.
“Yes, I was on a scooter. But I never hit an officer or anything like that,” Crudup said.
The five officers were charged with first-degree misdemeanor battery and suspended with pay. They all turned themselves in Monday, and may face further charges later, Fernandez Rundle said.