MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A man who was arrested on drug-related charges in Miami Beach in 2017 said he was beaten by police, and newly released bodycam footage shows the interaction.
Miami Beach Police told 7News that they have launched an internal affairs investigation into the incident. They released the bodycam footage, Friday, which showed the sudden strike.
The arrestee, Richard Johnson, could be heard speaking to Miami Beach Police officers inside their headquarters in March 2017.
“I’m not going in there,” Johnson said in the video.
The police officer thought otherwise.
“My man, you’re going,” the officer said.
That’s when video showed the Miami Beach Police officer’s elbow hit Johnson in the head.
Officers were in the process of getting Johnson into a holding cell after his narcotics arrest.
7News spoke with Johnson Friday about what he called police brutality.
“I thought I was really gonna die,” Johnson said.
Police said the arrestee wasn’t complying and took a fighting stance. The department said the incident is now under an internal affairs investigation.
“I don’t think that’s fair,” Johnson said. “It’s not fair.”
Johnson was picked up on March 24, 2017 near Ninth Street and Washington Avenue for allegedly selling cocaine to an undercover police officer, among other drug offenses.
Police said Johnson resisted arrest from the minute they put him in cuffs.
“Y’all like to act like I’m scared of you,” Johnson said in the video. “I ain’t scared of you by a long shot, buddy.”
7News is not showing the officers’ faces because they’re working undercover. Johnson, however, admitted that he baited and taunted them.
“I got to him,” Johnson said.
According to police, things got violent when Johnson refused to go into the cell.
Police said in a report, “The defendant then continued to walk towards detective in a fighting stance with his arms bowed. Detective delivered a right elbow strike to the left side of the defendant’s jaw.”
Johnson told 7News that he was battered by police. “He hit me with his elbow,” he said. “And as soon as he hit with his elbow, he tackled me to the ground, telling me I was resisting arrest and I was unconscious. I didn’t even know what was going on until he hit me and he woke me up with a punch.”
In the video, screams and crying could be heard.
“Gimmie your hand,” an officer said in the video, “your [expletive] hand bro.”
In the arrest report narrative, police mentioned the punch, stating, “Detective delivered a closed right hammer fist to the left side of the defendant’s face.”
Johnson said the scream that is heard in the video was him screaming after he woke up from being punched in the face.
“Oh! Jesus, please!” he could be heard saying.
The video recorded Johnson as he continued to cry and plead with them after he was dealt the blows in jail.
“I still have headaches like all right here,” Johnson said touching the side of his head.
He said he’s filed a criminal complaint and has never been treated like this by police. He’s had his run-ins prior to this night. Johnson has lengthy rap sheet which dates back to 2011.
However, in the March 2017 incident, he said, “I think it’s police brutality.”
Johnson was on probation at the time for strong-armed robbery. He was treated by paramedics at the police station for a busted lip.
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