NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida family is taking legal action against Miami-Dade Police after, they said, a loved one was roughed up during a traffic stop outside their home.
The March 2017 incident, caught on police body cameras, started when 21-year-old Ephraim Casado was stopped by police after throwing trash from his car along the 2000 block of Northwest 91st Street.
Casado said things went south after he exited his vehicle with his hands up.
“He hit me on my head and slammed my head against my car. At this point, I’m actually fearing for my life,” said Casado. “At that point, I just started screaming for help.”
The video footage shows Casado eventually ended up on the ground while officers told him to calm down.
“Man, my head bleeding and my mouth bleeding,” Casado can be heard saying on the footage. “What’s your badge number?”
Minutes later, Casado said the arrest took another painful turn.
“Sir, you just punched me out in my face,” Casado said in the video.
“You’re [expletive] right I did. Stop resisting, man,” an officer can be heard responding.
Body cameras continued rolling as Casado was hog tied and loaded into a police car.
“At that point, I had no fight in me,” said Casado. “I wasn’t fighting from the beginning.”
Casado’s mother said she witnessed part of the arrest.
“At that time, he was just crying, saying, ‘I didn’t do anything, I didn’t do anything, I didn’t do anything,'” said Keytrona Johnson. “They literally beat him, so I was very upset and mad.”
Following the incident, Casado was charged with resisting arrest, criminal mischief and possession of marijuana, but the charges were dropped.
The state attorney’s office noted some significant discrepancies in the police reports, stating police reported Casado’s hands were concealed when he got out of his car.
However, video shows Casado’s hands were clearly in the air.
A closing memo from the state attorney’s office reads, in part, “It is my belief that these officers were less than truthful about the actual events that occurred during this incident. Based upon this, the state dismissed the case.”
Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez pushed back on the claims that the officers lied, Tuesday.
“That is the point right there that my blood boiled when that came up because that is perjury, folks, and that’s why I immediately called the state attorney ’cause that is a serious allegation,” said Perez. “We can’t have that within our police department.”
After a lengthy internal affairs investigation, the officers involved in the arrest were cleared of all wrongdoing.
Police released a detailed internal memo, highlighting what they call inaccuracies in the state attorney’s report. The memo also mentioned that there is no proof the officers lied because the whole incident wasn’t recorded.
“There was criminal activity on that memorandum stated, and we looked into it,” said Perez.
Despite having his charges dropped, Casado’s case is far from over.
“It is clear they did what they did because they thought they could get away with it,” said Igor Hernandez, Casado’s attorney.
Hernandez is now representing Casado in a civil suit against the officers and Miami-Dade Police.
“They beat him because they could. They lied about it because they could,” said Hernandez. “Their whole take on it was, ‘What are you going to do about it?’ Which is in fact something that was said on the tapes, so that is the primary reason why we filed this suit to make sure justice is done in this case.”
While Casado’s attorney takes his case to federal court, Miami-Dade Police said everything was done by the book.
“I do not believe there was excessive force,” said Perez.
The officers involved in the arrest are still on duty.
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