MIAMI (WSVN) – Cellphone video of a tough police takedown in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood has sparked accusations of excessive force, but investigators said the video does not tell the whole story.
The video shows a City of Miami Police officer repeatedly punching a man lying on the pavement next to a sidewalk outside Centro Wynwood, a nightclub near Northwest 23rd Street and Second Avenue, early Friday morning.
“I got that on video,” Antonio Ordonez, the man who recorded the video, is heard saying to police.
Hours later, Ordonez spoke with 7News about the incident.
“[The officer] is just hitting him nonstop,” he said.
Several feet away, another man lying on the ground is seen putting his hand behind his back before an officer slams his head into the concrete.
“Stop resisting!” the officer is heard saying in the video.
One of the men in the video, his face bloodied and swollen, ended up in the hospital. Three others were taken to jail.
Speaking with 7News on Friday, Ordonez said he and his buddies were leaving the nightclub when there was a scuffle with another group of men outside.
“He just sucker punched my friend right in the lip,” he said.
Ordonez said a fight broke out, and then the men who started it took off running. Police officers arrived shortly after.
“You just saw the two officers rush in,” said Ordonez.
Ordonez said he took out his phone and began recording what happened next.
“[An officer] knocked him to the floor, and as soon as he knocks him to the floor, he’s just hitting him, hitting him,” he said.
But according to police, Ordonez’s camera didn’t catch it all.
Video posted online by Only in Dade shows officers also taking hits.
The arrest report states three of the men resisted officers’ commands and threw punches.
An officer wrote a man “hit me in my rib area/waist and grabbed me aggressively and pushed me.”
The second officer stated, “I was struck on my right side of my face.”
In the arrest report, the officers said the men refused to obey commands and described their hits at “strikes for compliance.”
But Ordonez said he’s certain the officers went too far, and his video shows it.
For example, Ordonez said, the man who had his head slammed against the pavement was actually willing to be taken into custody.
“[The officer] tackled my friend down, he’s saying’ Stop resisting.’ [My friend] is actually trying to give [the officer] his hand, but [the officer] has his full weight on him that he can’t really get [his hand] out. He’s trying to [locate]’Hey, here’s my hand,’” he said.
Ordonez said he is filing a complaint with the Miami Police Department.
“I get it. Fine, you want to put him down, make sure he doesn’t go anywhere. I understand 100%, but the punching was inexcusable,” he said. “They are supposed to protect and serve. All they did – that was assault on their part.”
One of the men faces disorderly intoxication, and three others were charged with battery on a police officer. One man remains in the hospital and requires surgery.
A spokesperson for Miami Police issued a statement that reads, “Pursuant to its internal investigation protocols, the Miami Police Department is actively reviewing all video and testimonial evidence related to the use of force and will take appropriate action if any violations are identified.”
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