MIAMI – A Miami police officer was suspended with pay Thursday after a Facebook video showed a surrendering auto theft suspect being kicked in the head.
The Miami Herald reports that Police Chief Jorge Colina announced that Officer Mario Figueroa has been relieved of duty as the video "depicts a clear violation of policy."
The 51-second video posted Thursday morning by Lisa Harrell shows the 31-year-old suspect, David Suazo, lying face down on the ground with an officer standing over him. That officer gets on his back and handcuffs him. Suazo doesn't appear to be struggling.
Just after the second handcuff is secured, an officer identified as Figueroa runs in and kicks Suazo in the head. That officer then turns around and dives on Suazo's head.
Three other officers arrive and the video ends.
Harrell, a stay-at-home mom, says she went outside her apartment Thursday morning to see what was causing her dog to bark. She said she saw Suazo running back and forth until he was trapped by officers and surrendered. She used her cellphone to shoot the video.
Police said officers had tried to pull over Suazo in a stolen Jeep but he sped away then crashed into a wall at Harrell's apartment complex. They say Suazo took a fighting stance when confronted by Figueroa, who tried to shock him with his stun gun, but it was ineffective. The other officer fired his stun gun at Suazo and ordered him to the ground, and he complied.
State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle ordered her public corruption unit to begin an investigation.
"I was shocked and appalled by what I saw," she said in a statement.
Police union President Ed Lugo declined comment. Figueroa has been with the department for two years.
Suazo is charged with grand theft, fleeing an officer and other charges. No information on an attorney for Suazo was available.