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Miami Cop on Paid Leave After Video Shows Him Take a Running Start to Kick Handcuffed Man

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A City of Miami officer has been suspended with pay amid fallout over video of him kicking a defenseless, handcuffed suspect in the head.

Miami PD officials announced Thursday that Officer Mario Figuerroa had been relieved of duty. He was a 2-year veteran of the department, according to the Miami New Times.

In a video taken by a bystander, a man is seen lying face down on the ground with his hands cuffed. Seconds later, Figuerroa takes a running start and kicks the man in the head before placing him in a headlock. The now-viral video has sparked outrage.

The woman who recorded the video explained what she saw as the incident unfolded in her neighborhood courtyard.

“He’s on the ground and the other officer just came and kicks him like a football player, he just kicks his head like he’s a football player,” Lisa Harrell told CBS Miami. “In my mind, I was just like in shock.”

“I was like ‘are you serious? You really just kicked this man and he’s helpless,’ ” Harrell added. “He’s not resisting arrest or anything like that. Why are you really doing all of that.”

Investigators said the incident occurred Thursday, at the Culmer Place apartment complex in Overton, a historically Black neighborhood of Miami. Officers were trying to stop 31-year old David V. Suazo, who they said was driving a stolen car. Suazo allegedly refused to pull over and led police on a brief chase before crashing into a home and fleeing on foot.

“The car was still in drive; he didn’t put it in park,” a neighbor told CBS Miami. “It ended up in the wall where my son’s room is.”

Suazo was eventually surrendered after an officer threatened him with a stun gun. By this time, he was in the courtyard where he was arrested — and kicked in the face by Figuerroa.

Miami police chief Jorge Colina issued a statement after reviewing the video, saying it “depicts a clear violation of policy.” He confirmed Figuerroa was suspended pending an investigation by the Miami Dade state attorney’s office.

State attorney Kathy Fernandez Rundle also weighed in on the incident, saying she was “shocked and appalled by what I saw.”

“Assistant State Attorney Johnette Hardiman, of my Public Corruption Unit, has been assigned to immediately open an investigation,” Rundle said in a press release.

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