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Miami police officer charged after kicking suspect on video

Posted at 10:56 PM, May 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-08 22:56:33-04

MIAMI (WSVN/CNN) - A police officer in Miami will face assault charges after a video appeared to show him kicking a car theft suspect in the head during an arrest.

Miami police officer Mario Figueroa can be seen in the video taking a kick at David Suazo, who was on the ground.

Figueroa was relieved of duty.

Souza was charged with theft and fleeing police.

He ran from police, they say, after crashing a car and was caught inside of a housing complex.

The Miami Dade state attorney's office has now, however, charged Figueroa with misdemeanor assault.

State attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement that "Officer Mario Figueroa can have no excuse for the alleged actions seen on the initial videotape.”

The state also released new body camera video after they announced the charge.

It shows Suazo on the floor of a hospital where he complained of chest pains after the arrest.

He can be heard saying, “Missed on the kick. Learn how to aim my boy."

Figueroa is heard responding, “If I wanted to kick you, you know I would have kicked you.”

Toward the end of their exchange Figueroa can be heard saying he did not kick Suazo.

"I needed you to comply, so me pretending to kick you got you to comply, right," he said.

Miami police released a statement: "The Miami Police Department would like to assure the community that it will not tolerate any transgressions against the badge its officers are meant to wear with honor, and remains committed to maintaining the highest possible standards of ethics, transparency and accountability."

The woman who shot the video of the original incident said she felt Figueroa was “getting what he deserves.”

“He's not - he was not supposed to do that. That was not his job,” she said. “So, if he's getting charged for it, he's getting charged like any other criminal would."

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said the decisions to suspend Figueroa and charge him criminally “were both appropriate given the clear evidence that was shown by the video.”

An arraignment date for Figueroa has not been announced.

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