Just weeks after North Miami Police fatally shot an autistic man playing with a toy gun, officers from another South Florida police force are in hot water for using violence against a mentally disadvantaged man. NBC Miami reports that Saturday night, a Miami-Dade Police officer slammed a man with Down syndrome to the ground and then smacked him across the head. The officers were suspicious after seeing a bulge in the man's pants. It turned out to be a colostomy bag.
Twenty-two-year-old Gilberto Powell was confronted by officers Saturday at 9:30 p.m. near SW 111th Place and 138th Street. Officers spotted a bulge in his waistband and began to pat him down.
Powell, who has Down syndrome, became confused and tried to flee. The officers tried to place him in handcuffs, but his head hit the ground. Powell struck one of the officers in the chest, and then an officer "struck [Powell] in the left side of his face with an open hand in an attempt to subdue him," according to the police report.
Only after they had handcuffed him did they realize Powell was "mentally challenged, was not capable of understanding our commands, and that the bulge in his waistband was a colostomy bag."
"The Miami-Dade Police Department continues to investigate the incident involving Mr. Gilberto Powell," says an MDPD statement. "The integrity of the investigation and successful resolution of this case continues to remain our highest priority. As a result, the investigation remains active and ongoing; therefore, we cannot provide additional information at this time."
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Powell's family is looking into the possibility of a lawsuit.
[NBCMiami: Man With Down Syndrome in Clash With Cops]