Crime

Miami Cop Suspended for Handcuffing 5-Year-Old at Wynwood School

Earlier this year, Hector Feliciano drove to Eneida Hartner Elementary School to pick up his 5-year-old son, who'd gotten in trouble for fighting. As they pulled away, Feliciano heard a disturbing tale from the boy: A Miami cop at the school had pulled his ear and then handcuffed him. 

The next day, Feliciano and the school's principal confronted Officer Paul Gourrier, who admitted he had indeed cuffed the kid. Why? To "teach him a lesson," according to a complaint heard by the Civilian Investigative Panel yesterday.

It was Gourrier who ended up with the learning moment, though, thanks to a 20-hour suspension for misconduct.

The incident happened in February at the elementary school at NW 29th Street and Fifth Avenue. Feliciano's son had fought with another child over a toy and bitten the other student. Before his father could pick him up at school, Gourrier slapped cuffs on the child. 

Feliciano filed an internal affairs complaint against Gourrier, a veteran officer hired full-time in 1993. In his 22 years with MPD, Gourrier had previously received six citizen complaints and four uses of force on his record, according to an IA summary. 

In May, IA determined that Gourrier was guilty of misconduct in the incident. The following month, Chief Rodolfo Llanes suspended him 20 hours. 

The Civilian Investigative Panel, an independent body that considers complaints against MPD officers, took up the case soon afterward and talked to Feliciano, who asked to pursue a second case because "he believes that the officer had nothing else to do except get involved in this situation with his child."

But Feliciano later stopped responding to CIP investigators, so the second complaint was dropped. 
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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink