MIAMI (WSVN) - A police officer from the City of Miami has been relieved of duty after a video surfaced of him kicking a suspect who was already on the ground.
Video shows the suspect lying on his stomach with his hands behind his back as an officer is handcuffing him, near the area of Northwest Eighth Street and Seventh Avenue.
While the officer is putting on the handcuffs, a second officer could be seen running up to the victim and kicking him in the head before grabbing him and holding him to the ground.
“You ain’t have to do all that, buddy,” a woman could be heard saying while recording the video.
The woman who captured the video was disgusted by what she saw. “I couldn’t believe that that comes from [the] City of Miami,” said the woman.
According to Miami Police, this all started when officers tried to stop a stolen vehicle. They said the driver, 31-year-old David Suazo, ran from police and crashed the vehicle in the area of Northwest Eighth Street and Seventh Avenue.
Then he bailed out and took off running into a housing complex.
Once he was cornered, witnesses said he cooperated.
“It was unnecessary because he wasn’t resisting or nothing,” said witness Terrance Taylor.
“He stopped, put his hand on his back, got on his knees, and then the guy told him, ‘Lay down. Lay down,'” added the woman who recorded the video. “He laid down. Once he laid down, that’s when he handcuffed him and the other person just comes and runs right at him and he kicks him. That man should get fired. That police [officer] should get fired.”
Not long after the video hit social media, it ended up in the hands of Miami Police.
Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina released a statement in response to the video, saying in part, “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.”
Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle also released a statement in response to the video which read, “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. Assistant State Attorney Johnette Hardiman, of my Public Corruption Unit, has been assigned to immediately open an investigation.”
Police said the officer, identified as Mario Figueroa, has been stripped of his badge and will not be allowed to perform police duties, pending the outcome of an investigation. He’s been with the force for two years.
Witnesses said the video should be enough to say case closed.
“To me, it wasn’t necessary,” said Taylor.
“That man should get fired. He was not a football for you to just kick him the way you did,” added the woman who recorded the video.
Lazaria Celestine, Suazo’s mother, is disgusted and wants justice for her son.
“It’s a big pain in my heart,” said Celestine. “Because he is my son. I carried him in my womb for nine months. To treat my son like this — not even a dog is treated like that. He abused his authority because he is police. He think he a god? No!”
When asked what he wanted to say to the cop that kicked him while being taken to jail, Suazo told 7News, “It hurt. I hope he has a good lawyer.”
Suazo is charged with grand theft and is being held at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. Suazo will not have any bond for now because he has outstanding warrants.
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