Miami police say they are aware of a video that has gone viral showing a group of officers punching, kicking and choking a man during a traffic stop Sunday but have not yet explained the reasons behind the arrest.
“I can’t breathe,” said the man at one point in the video as the cops piled on top of him.
A muscular cop who punched him in the face several times before placing a tight chokehold on him was seen later in the video having a serious conversation with a Miami-Dade police officer who appears to have been upset about the excessive force (the 2:30 mark in the above video).
The man arrested was shirtless and wearing shorts. He was left with a bloody mouth. He had been driving a Range Rover when pulled over.
The video was live streamed to Facebook by a woman named NíNí Milton who was sitting in the back seat of a car driven by her mother and said she was left shaken by what she had witnessed.
Local 10 news contacted the Miami Police Department Sunday evening but have not yet received an explanation, only an acknowledgement it is “looking into” the incident.
The incident took place two weeks after the Department of Justice ended its five-year oversight of the Miami Police Department for using excessive force, including an 8-month period where Miami cops shot and killed seven Black men.
Monitoring the oversight was former Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor who made $150-an-hour as her role as monitor before she stepped down in 2019 to become mayor of Tampa, making at least $150,000 in total for monitoring the oversight.
At the time, Castor claimed that the Miami Police Department had “satisfied all of the requirements of the agreement,” but was criticized by members of the Miami Community Advisory Board who accused her of white-washing the oversight, according to a 2019 Miami Herald article.
The Department of Justice did not agree with Castor’s assessment at the time and continued the oversight until last month where it now says the Miami Police Department has “sustained substantial compliance,” according to a Miami Herald article last month.
And perhaps that may explain why the cops in the video did not shoot and kill the man as they used to do with much more frequency, merely punching, kicking and choking him instead.
In 2019, another video went viral showing a Miami police officer brutally arresting a Black man who was doing nothing more but sitting in a public park minding his own business.
Watch the shortened video above and the two original videos here, including a second video where Milton returned to the scene and recorded police struggling to get the man inside the patrol car.