A newly released cellphone video depicts a Florida police sergeant kicking a handcuffed teenager in the face and slamming his knee against the back of the teen’s neck without any justifiable reason. On Thursday, prosecutors released the video to the public after previously charging the police sergeant with misdemeanor battery.
On February 14, 2018, Miami-Dade police officers attempted to arrest a teenager named David Brown who was wanted in connection with a burglary. According to the arrest report, the teen tried to run away but one of the officers fired his Taser stun gun and struck the teenager in the back.
Although the police report claims that Brown fought with the officers before they were able to cuff his hands behind his back, the report did not mention the fact that Sgt. Gustavo De Los Rios kicked the subdued teen in the face for no apparent reason before dropping his knee onto the back of Brown’s exposed neck.
A cellphone video recorded by a bystander revealed Sgt. De Los Rios physically assaulting the restrained teen without provocation. In the video, Brown clearly remains on his stomach without resisting or attempting to fight back.
“Right after he put the handcuffs on. He’s down on the ground. He’s not moving. He’s under control. The officer just comes and gives him a kick, with what I believe is his right foot, to the left side of his face,” State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle said.
She added, “That is unacceptable and intolerable and that’s why we charged him.”
In August 2018, De Los Rios was charged with misdemeanor battery for attacking Brown during the arrest. De Los Rios has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
“His actions are disappointing and do not reflect our agency’s core values,” Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez said in a statement at the time of the arrest. “I assure our community that the allegations of misconduct involving our personnel will be vigorously investigated. No one is above the law.”
Last year, De Los Rios was arrested in Broward County and charged with attacking his ex-wife with a bottle and hitting her several times. According to Broward court records, the same woman also sought a domestic-violence restraining order against him in 2014.
De Los Rios initially joined the Miami-Dade Police Department in 2007.