A July 26 incident caught on video has resulted in five Miami Beach police officers charged with misdemeanor assault and battery in their attack on a man suspected of hitting a fellow officer with his scooter.
Dalonta Crudup, 24, was suspected of striking a Miami Beach bicycle police officer with his scooter after being stopped for illegal parking and attempting to flee the scene. Crudup claims he did not park illegally and did not strike an officer. The officer suffered a leg injury and was treated in the hospital.
According to the Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, further investigation may result in additional charges filed. The five charged are Sgt. Jose Perez, Officer Kevin Perez (the two are unrelated), Officer Robert Sabater, Officer David Rivas, and Officer Steven Serrano. They have all been relieved of duty during the investigation. The five are represented by police union attorneys.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said the incident was “unacceptable in every way,” adding that the Miami Beach Police Department did the right thing in relieving the officers from duty right away and contacting the State Attorney’s Office.
Hotel Surveillance Video
The officers chased Crudup into the Royal Palm South Beach Miami Hotel, where he was staying. The hotel’s surveillance video caught the event, as did police body cameras and a bystander’s cellphone. As Crudup entered the elevator, he was held at gunpoint by Police Lt. Jose Reina, who orders him off.
Crudup, tall and thin with dreadlocks, is seen complying with Reina’s order. He raises his hands and promptly lies face down with his hands stretched in front of him. There is a sound on the video of the handcuffs clicking into place as they close on his wrists.
21 Police Officers Descend
After Crudup’s handcuffing, 21 police officers descend into the hotel’s lobby and surround him. It is at that point, according to Fernandez Rundle, that the situation changes from a legitimate arrest to the excessive force investigation of the five policemen.
Kicks in the Head
As soon as Crudup is handcuffed, Sgt. Jose Perez starts kicking Crudup in the head and shoulders repeatedly. Another officer then picks up the limp Crudup and slams his head into the ground. Officer Kevin Perez then kicks him in the head. Blood comes out of Crudup’s head as the Perez’s continue kicking him.
Other officers go after a bystander recording the encounter. Khalid Vaughan, 28, standing between 12 and 15 feet away, is told to step back. He does, only to have Sabater try to tackle him. He proceeds down a hallway with several officers in pursuit. Bodycam footage shows Rivas and Serrano punching him.
Crudup has been charged with aggravated battery and assault on a police officer, as well as criminal mischief, resisting arrest with violence, reckless driving, and eluding. Charges against Vaughn were dropped after Fernandez Rundle saw the video. Police originally said he was impeding, provoking, and harassing them.
Crudup received stitches for his injuries at a hospital.
Ready to see if you have a case or simply want to talk to a lawyer about your situation? There is no obligation and no fee for consultation. If we do take your case, we do so on a contingency fee basis meaning you don’t pay unless we win. Our jail abuse lawyers and network can be reached online, by email at [hidden email] or by phone at 866.836.4684.