Miami Cop Suspended Over Video Showing Handcuffed Man Beaten in Liberty City

The 47-second video opens with a group of Miami Police officers calmly handcuffing a young man wearing a black T-shirt. One of the officers then leads the man toward a squad car and sits him in the back seat. Then, suddenly, the officer lunges toward the suspect, seemingly hitting him before jumping on the young man. The woman filming cries out and runs toward the car, when her camera is suddenly knocked from her hands.

Many questions remain unanswered about the footage, but this much is clear: The video quickly went viral on Facebook last night, and now Miami PD has suspended the officer and opened an investigation. 

"We have seen the video, and we have launched a full internal affairs investigation into the matter," says Miami PD spokesman Maj. Delrish Moss, who has yet to identify the officer involved. "We take that responsibility very seriously. The officer involved in the incident will be relieved of duty as we investigate."

The video was originally uploaded to Facebook by a woman named Marilyn Smith, with little context, just the caption: "Police Brutality #FreeYayo." (The YouTube clip below is via Photography Is Not A Crime.)

Local 10 tracked down the woman who filmed the clip, but she declined to be identified. She said the man was arrested because police found pot nearby and that cops ordered her to delete the footage after knocking her phone out of her hands; she uploaded it to Facebook instead.

It didn't take long for Miami's police union to try to discredit the woman. Union President Javier Ortiz quickly released a statement last night alleging that the woman who uploaded the video posts Facebook photos of young men with guns. 

"What is extremely concerning is that the poster of this video (aka Facebook Marilyn Smith) has photographs of her with young men armed with handguns," Ortiz said. "It seems that no one cares to address this. Social media has focused so much on #blacklifematters/alllifematters campaigns, yet nobody targets the root of the problem our community faces today."

Of course, it's well worth asking why the hell any of that matters when the video — by appearances at least — speaks for itself as a document of police abuse. 

Ortiz followed that email with another, warning Miami cops to be prepared for retaliation and possible death threats sparked by the videos.
KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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