Newly released video footage shows a veteran Miami-Dade police sergeant kicking a teenager lying on the ground handcuffed with his hands behind his back.
The footage was released Thursday as part of the criminal case against Sgt. Gustavo De Los Rios, 38, who was charged with misdemeanor battery in August. He has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
The video, shot by a bystander, shows De Los Rios and three other officers arresting a teen identified only as D.B. on Feb. 14 on the sidewalk in Northwest Miami-Dade.
The teen was wanted in connection with a burglary, and began scuffling with police after being pulled over along with his mother.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
When the teen began to run, one of the officers fired his Taser stun gun and struck D.B. in the back, according to his arrest report. 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.
But two women standing outside a cash-advance store were watching the arrest; one of them captured De Los Rios kicking the teen in the side of the face and later reported it to the Miami-Dade police.
“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.”
At the time of De Los Rios’ arrest, it was the second time in three months that a South Florida police officer had 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.
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.