A veteran Miami-Dade cop has been charged with battery after prosecutors said he kicked a teenager lying on the ground with his hands behind his back and handcuffed. A bystander captured the kick on cellphone video.
Sgt. Gustavo De Los Rios, 38, was relieved of duty in February following a complaint and charged Friday night with a single count of misdemeanor battery. He and other officers were involved in the arrest of a teen identified only as D.B. on Feb. 14 in Northwest Miami-Dade.
Because the charge is a misdemeanor, De Los Rios was not taken into custody and a notice will be mailed to him informing him of his first court date. His defense attorney could not immediately be reached for comments.
It’s the second time in three months that a South Florida police officer has been criminally charged after kicking at someone.
In May, Miami police officer Mario Figueroa was suspended with pay after video surfaced of him running toward and delivering a kick at the head of a car-theft suspect who was handcuffed and lying on his stomach. The kick did not connect with David Suazo, who led cops on a foot chase through an Overtown apartment complex.
The State Attorney’s Office charged Figueroa with misdemeanor assault. He is awaiting trial.
In the latest case, detectives had issued a bulletin for the teen, who was 17 at the time and wanted in connection with a burglary. The teen’s arrest report says the break-in occurred on Jan. 17 at a home in the 8400 block of Northwest 172nd Street. It says a woman on the way to visit the home spotted the teen driving off in a vehicle and passed the information along to police.
Almost a month later on Feb. 14, police spotted the same car being driven by the teen’s mother just north of Miami Lakes in the 18600 block of Northwest 57th Avenue. As police questioned D.B.’s mother, police said, the teen grew agitated and got into a scuffle with officers. When the teen began to run, one of the officers fired his Taser stun gun and struck D.B. in the back.
On the ground, the report says, D.B. punched and kicked, striking De Los Rios several times in the chest and on the arm. He was taken into custody and charged with battery on a police officer and resisting arrest with and without violence. He was also charged with burglary to an occupied dwelling from the January break-in.
There is no mention in the report of De Los Rios kicking the teen.
The kick from De Los Rios, however, came well after D.B. was handcuffed and on the ground, prosecutors determined after viewing the video. The teenager was not seriously injured.
The incident was watched by two women standing outside a cash-advance store; one of them recorded it with her phone. The two women later filed a complaint with Miami-Dade police, leading to the arrest.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office has not released the video yet.
“His actions are disappointing and do not reflect our agency’s core values,” Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez told the Miami Herald. “I assure our community that the allegations of misconduct involving our personnel will be vigorously investigated. No one is above the law.”
De Los Rios became a Miami-Dade cop in 2007 and was most recently posted to the Northwest District. His performance reviews have been largely average or outstanding, according to his personnel file.
But he has not been trouble free. Last year, he was arrested in Broward County and charged with attacking his ex-wife with a bottle and hitting her several times. She later recanted and prosecutors declined to press charges. In 2015, he was counseled for using his position as a police officer to obtain information about his ex-wife’s travel plans on a ferry, according to county records.
The same woman also sought a domestic-violence restraining order against him in 2014, according to Broward court records.