NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - A Doral Police officer is being accused of using excessive force during a traffic stop at a gas station that was captured on body camera video.
The recently released footage captured an officer pulling Craig Nembhard out of the car at the Shell station at the corner of Northwest 36th Street and 79th Avenue, near the Palmetto Expressway, May 16.
The video then shows the officer, later identified as Doral Police Officer Travis Cooper, slamming the driver onto the pavement.
The incident has launched an internal affairs investigation within the Doral Police Department.
Police said the officers believed Nembhard was going to ram them with his car.
The driver’s attorney, David Kubiliun, addressed the incident in a phone interview, Wednesday.
“Craig was pulled over for a routine traffic stop in Doral,” he said.
Kubiliun said Nembhard was issued a traffic violation and became angry. He said his client then turned his car around to fill up his car at the gas station.
Moments later, the footage shows at least two officers pulling out their guns and aiming them at Nembhard.
According to the police report, Nembhard “directed his vehicles towards Officer Cooper, which created a well-founded fear that [the] defendant, who was agitated and angry, was about to thrust his vehicle at Officer Cooper.”
But Kubiliun said the bodycam footage does not back up the officers’ account of the incident.
“It’s clear from the video that that wasn’t the case … He was going at the most 1 mile an hour,” he said.
Moreover, Kubiliun said, Cooper threw Nembhard against the ground so hard that it broke the driver’s femur.
“Ah! My leg is broken!” Nembhard is heard saying in the video.
“Now, my client, for the rest of his life, is going to have a metal rod in his lower leg with the assistance of a walker,” said Kubiliun.
State prosecutors agreed with the attorney. They said that what police wrote in their report does not match what was recorded in the video and dropped all charges against Nembhard.
The officers are also heard on camera, before the violent altercation, insinuating something is about to go down.
“Someone is about to get stomped on,” an officer is heard saying in the bodycam video.
Kubiliun said the comments make the officers’ actions premeditated.
“I feel as though the reason he was arrested for that was because they needed to justify the beating,” he said.
Kubiliun said his client has not only lost his job as a result of the encounter, but because he has no money coming in, he is now homeless.
Other than confirming they have opened an internal affairs investigation, Doral Police said they have nothing else to add about the incident.
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