This is one of those stories I always preface with the I hate to write about this but it has to be written about.
Why does it have to be written about? Simple, while the problems with law enforcement around the country are nowhere near as bad as organizations like Black Lives Matter make them out to be, there are and have been legitimate issues that need to be identified, discussed, and resolved.
The Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina gets and deserves credit for taking immediate action after seeing this video and not making excuses for the police officer in the video and circling the proverbial wagons trying to defend Officer Mario Figueroa, the police officer who kicks the subject in the head.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle also acted promptly ordering the incident be investigated and Officer Figueroa is more than likely going to find himself standing trial for criminal charges in the near future. Something he definitely deserves.
While the Police Chief and State Attorney deserve credit for taking action against Officer Figueroa, I believe other Officers on the scene deserve to face disciplinary consequences as well.
When you see a Police Officer do something as stupid as Officer Figueroa in this video, it really is not something you can blame the administrators or Police in general responsible for doing. Unless this creep has a history of being disciplined for things like this in his lengthy two-year career with the department, this is an isolated case of one overly aggressive idiot getting through the hiring process… It happens in every profession.
What is concerning though and could be a sign of a more systemic problem that warrants looking into is the way the other Officers on the scene in the video just go about their business seemingly undisturbed by Officer Figueroa planting a running kick into the subjects head. If you ask me, the Officer that ran in behind him should have dropped kicked him.
While the other Officer kicking Officer Figueroa in the head sounds appealing, it, of course, is not the appropriate thing but a senior officer on scene should have removed him from participating in the arrest.
The other indicator that this could be a more systemic problem is the fact that it was not the Police Officers on the scene that reported this incident, it was a bystander who caught the incident on video. Had one of the bystanders not filmed the incident, they most likely would have denied the entire incident and Officer Figueroa would be getting away with this and still on the job.
Now before anyone starts with the “you don’t know what happened before he’s seen taking a running start to kick a man on the ground” It does NOT matter. Police Officers are only supposed to use that amount of force necessary. Granted, if the guy on the ground had just shot his partner in the head, it would definitely add a degree of sympathy, but it would still be wrong and it would still be wrong for other officers not to report the incident.
Having a law enforcement background I understand looking out for one another and while it may be wrong on any level, Police Officers have no choice but to protect one another because unlike other professions, the slightest screw up no matter how minor, can destroy an Officers career. A Police Officer’s career should not be destroyed because they make a minor mistake, or even in the heat of the moment trying to effect an arrest when someone is fighting them they get a little too aggressive as long as they de-escalate once they realize their adrenaline is getting the best of them. Things like that can and do happen all the time.
Those minor understandable things considering the consequences an Officer faces, i.e., losing their job, I can tolerate, but the sort of willful, blatant misconduct as seen in this video is inexcusable and so is the officers on scene tolerating it and not putting this guy’s head on the chopping block. Looking out for another cops little mistakes is one thing, but once you break the law and bring disgrace to the badge, I don’t care who you are, you just became a bad guy and good cops should step forward with honor.
If the arrest report filed against the subject Officer Figueroa drop kicked has any truth to it at all the guy on the ground is a dirtbag and broke what I consider a cardinal rule. Don’t run from and don’t fight with the police… You will ALWAYS lose, and you should.
According to the report, the guy on the ground did not become as compliant as seen in the video until the Officers gave quite a chance and had to shoot him with a taser. The report says that once the Officers caught up with him, he took a fighting stance and began swearing at the Officers. Officer Figueroa is said to have been the one to tase him and the report says the taser was not effective.
I have my doubts about the honesty and accuracy of the arrest report though. The video begins with the suspect lying prone on the ground with an Officer calmly bending down handcuffing him. He hardly looks to be resisting at all so the taser was either effective or someone is lying. The way Officer Figueroa comes running into the scene also does not seem consistent with him having been the one to deploy a taser, not to mention there are no visible lead wires from a taser gun anywhere to be seen.
I do believe in a thorough and proper investigation being conducted before final judgment is rendered though, but while many of the details are uncertain and can not be determined from the video, the way Officer Figueroa ran up and kicked the subject leaves no room for justification.