Miami police officer is seen on video kicking a man in the head during an arrest
Posted May 3, 2018 11:03 p.m. EDT
(CNN) — A Miami police officer has been relieved of duty after a video showed him kicking a suspect in the head, as the man was lying on the ground and getting handcuffed.
"The video depicts a clear violation of policy," Miami Police Chief Jorge R. Colina said in a statement. "The officer has been relieved of duty and the Miami-Dade State Attorney's office has been contacted."
A cell phone video shot by a witness shows a man lying in a yard with his hands on his head. The first police officer approaches him and starts putting handcuffs on the suspect. The suspect, identified as David Suazo in the police report, was not resisting and was lying on his stomach. His hands are being restrained. Suddenly, another officer can be seen running toward him and kicking him in the head.
That officer then drops to the ground next to the suspect and appears to put him in a headlock.
A woman can be heard expressing shock. "You didn't have to do all that, buddy. You tripping."
CNN has attempted to reach the officer, Mario Figueroa, but has not yet gotten a response. A call to the Fraternal Order of Police was not returned.
Figueroa, who has been working for the Miami Police Department for two years, has been suspended with pay pending the outcome of the investigation.
State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle says her Public Corruption Unit has opened an investigation into the incident.
Witness records brutal arrest
Four officers surround the suspect, who is on the ground.
The witness who shot the video told CNN that she started recording after hearing something happening in her backyard Thursday morning. She requested not to be identified.
She said she went outside and saw a man running around, trying to escape. But he couldn't get away because there was a gate, so he surrendered to police, she said.
"He stopped, put his hand on his head and got on his knees. Police told him to lay down and he did," she said. "And the rest is all on video."
She said she sent the Miami Police Department a message about what happened after seeing the kick.
According to the police report, which doesn't mention the kick, Miami police had pursued Suazo, 31, on Thursday morning after spotting him driving a blue Jeep Cherokee that a record check showed to be stolen.
Police said they tried to pull him over, but the suspect sped up and drove into a residential complex "with disregard for the safety of persons or property." He crashed the car and fled on foot, as officers gave chase.
Officers said they gave verbal commands and the man said, "F*** you" to them and took a "fighting stance," according to their report.
Figueroa deployed a Taser, which was ineffective, according to the report. The man continued to flee, but was eventually taken into custody.
Suazo is charged with grand theft auto, fleeing/eluding police officer, reckless driving, driving with suspended license, leaving the scene of an accident and resisting an officer without violence.
CNN reached out to the public defender's office, which said it doesn't comment on pending litigation.