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Five White Miami Beach Cops Charged with Beating Handcuffed Black Suspect

On August 2, 2021, charges were filed against five officers with the Miami Beach Police Department (MBPD) after a cellphone video went viral showing them and 17 other officers swarming into a South Florida hotel lobby and beating a suspect.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle announced misdemeanor battery charges against Sgt. Jose Perez and four other MBPD officers: Kevin Perez, Robert Sabater, Steven Serrano, and David Rivas. All five surrendered themselves to MBPD.

On July 26, 2021, the entire group of 21 officers—most of whom appear to be White—chased Dalonta Crudup into the Royal Palm Hotel on South Beach after the 24-year-old Black man allegedly struck another officer outside with his scooter. That man is now on crutches while recovering from the injury he sustained.

On his cellphone video, Crudup's friend, 28-year-old Khalid Vaughn, captured what happened in the lobby as the officers cornered the suspect at an elevator, where he lay on the ground in surrender. That’s when Fernandez Rundle said the situation changed “from criminal arrest to investigation of use of force.”

Hotel surveillance cameras also captured the officers as they handcuffed the suspect and proceeded to beat him and kick him in the head. At the end of the four-minute video, they turn on Vaughn and tackle him, beating him too. Charges against him for impeding a police investigation and resisting arrest with violence were immediately dropped as soon as the video was seen by Fernandez Rundle, who said Vaughn was acting “within his rights.”

The charges against Crudup—aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, fleeing and eluding police, aggravated assault on a police officer, and resisting arrest with violence—remain standing, she said, despite the charges filed against the arresting cops.

“Excessive force can never, ever be an acceptable solution,” the prosecutor explained.

Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) President Paul Ozeata said that the five officers are represented by FOP attorneys and "deserve their day in court, just as everyone else does.”

Sources: Miami Herald

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