Miami cop Mario Figueroa was acquitted yesterday of assault charges after he was video-recorded taking a football-kickoff style kick at a handcuffed suspect’s head.
Now, the Miami Fraternal Order of Police is commending Figueroa on Twitter.
Miami-Dade County Judge Michael Barket dismissed the misdemeanor assault charge against officer Figueroa, reasoning that since the kick actually missed, officer Figueroa didn’t commit assault.
“This was a crime created on social media. This was a Facebook misdemeanor,” said Figueroa’s defense attorney Robert Buschel, most famous for defending Roger Stone after his arrest as part of the Mueller investigation.
“In a court of law the case failed.”
Buschel asked the judge to acquit his client on the spot.
Judge Barket issued Figueroa’s acquittal halfway through the trial — before the prosecution was even able to mount its case.
Or even given a chance to mount a case.
Figueroa, who was hoping to get his job back after being fired, was set to testify, according to the Miami Herald.
The Miami Fraternal Order of Police took to its Twitter page, saying Figueroa should be commended for his quick thinking and fast reflexes.
In spite of the judge’s decision, Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina said he still believes officer Figueroa is not the best fit to be a police officer.
“What I saw depicted in the video, I felt was not in the best interest of the department,” Chief Colina said.
“We’re in the business of building trust in the community. We can’t have the community afraid of the police.”
The debacle happened in May 2018 after Davis Suazo wrecked a stolen car before leading police on a foot chase through an apartment complex.
As Suazo was being arrested by other officer on the ground, Figueroa sprints up and takes a running kick at Suazo’s head.
A citizen with a cellphone captured the incident then posted the clip online, which sparked Chief Colina to suspend Figueroa immediately.
Then, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, charged Figueroa a week later.
Prior to charging Figueroa Rundle has faced criticism over several years for never charging officers in use-of-force cases.
“I was shocked and appalled by what I saw,” Rundle said before charges against Figueroa were announced.
Body camera footage at the station shows Suazo telling Figueroa his kick actually missed.
“If I wanted to kick you, you know, I would have kicked you, right?” Figueroa replies.
“Me pretending to kick you got you to comply,” he then adds.
Watch video of the kick above.