A cellphone video showing a Miami-Dade police officer kicking a handcuffed suspect was released Thursday by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.
Sergeant Gustavo De Los Rios, 38, was charged with a misdemeanor for the incident which took place in February.
The video shows several officers arresting a suspect, then De Los Rios is seen kicking the suspect once and then dropping his knee on his neck.
De Los Rios was relieved of duty with pay at the time the complaint was filed.
The incident occurred in Miami Lakes on Valentine’s Day of 2018.
Officers pulled over a teenager wanted for burglary on 57th avenue. According to prosecutors, the teen fought officers who tried to use their Taser.
Eventually, he was placed in handcuffs on the ground. That’s when according to the state attorney, De Los Rios crossed the line.
“Right after he put the handcuffs on. He’s down on the ground. He’s not moving. He’s under control. The officer just comes and gives him a kick, with what I believe is his right foot, to the left side of his face,” State attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle said.
The kick did not seriously injure the teen but Fernandez-Rundle says that’s beside the point. “That is unacceptable and intolerable and that’s why we charged him.”
Miami Dade Police’s director put out a statement at the time, which read: “The Miami-Dade Police Department became aware of a concerning video involving the actions of one of our own. An investigation was immediately initiated in collaboration with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office. As a result, Sergeant Gustavo De Los Rios has been charged with misdemeanor battery. His actions are disappointing and do not reflect our agency’s core values. I assure our community that all allegations of misconduct, involving our personnel, will be vigorously investigated. No one is above the law.”
Personally, De Los Rios has had a rocky few years. He was arrested for domestic abuse in an incident with his ex-wife last year. Court filings show restraining orders as well. Professionally, the Miami Herald reports nothing significant, outside of a 2015 incident where De Los Rios abused his power to find out about his ex-wife’s travel plans.
Fernandez-Rundle said this is proof the system is working, that no one above the law. “It’s so disappointing when a few of these officers just abuse the trust that we have in them, in this way. It affects all of us,” she said.
At the time of the incident, we reached out to De Los Rios for comment. He hung up. His defense attorney did not return our calls.