Video from May 2017 has surfaced showing what appears to be an officer kicking a robbery suspect in the face as he kneeled and spread his hands out on the ground in front of police.
Ravon Boyd had led officers on a foot chase after a strong-arm robbery, for which he has since been convicted and is serving 44 months in prison, per the Miami Herald. According to reports, Boyd stole money out of a man’s pocket while another man assaulted him. As can be seen in the video, brought to public attention by Miami’s Civilian Investigative Panel, Boyd began to kneel as officers rushed in on him after surrounding him in a housing development alley. One officer runs up and seemingly kicks Boyd in the face; others join the fray and apparently begin punching and striking him.
At multiple points following the initial scuffle, an officer can be seen covering his body camera with his hand. Officers claimed they thought Boyd was reaching for a weapon, which frankly doesn’t seem to be the case, particularly while Boyd flinched and held his hands up to try and shield himself from the cascade of blows in the fetal position.
Miami Police Sergeant Claude Adam claimed that he saw an unidentified object on the ground and was attempting to kick it away; the officers’ story was that they thought his hands were going down toward a weapon. (Again, I’m no expert, but literally cowering and yelping in fear doesn’t seem particularly aggressive or threatening to me.) Internal affairs decided Adam didn’t do anything wrong and he’s since been back on the force, the Herald writes.
From the Herald:
Police determined that one of them, officer Brian Castro, covered his body camera with his hand during a pivotal sequence while officers were taking Boyd into custody. Castro resigned while the department was processing paperwork to fire him over the incident. The two other officers listed as using force by the city were Juan Casiano and Alan Perez.
It’s not the first time an officer in the area has been in hot water over kicking a suspect in the face. Just last year, an officer was “relieved of duty Thursday when a video surfaced of him delivering a running kick to the head of a suspected car thief who was lying defenseless on his stomach in handcuffs.” I can’t imagine “kick suspect in the face” is the most effective police training in the first place—especially for prone and otherwise restrained suspects—but maybe Miami police should specifically focus on not kicking people in the face, since it seems to be such a kneejerk reaction for them.
According to WFOR-TV, Boyd’s mother Carla was so upset by the video that she cried upon viewing it Tuesday. She said her son suffered from swelling and a gash on the back of his head.
“It hurts me,” she told WFOR. “Justice has to be served. These are the challenges that we face every day in America with our black kids that walk out our door and we don’t know if they will return.”