In South Florida, prosecutors are charging cops for using undue force but the jurors keep acquitting them, reports the Miami Herald.
There have been several incidents where cops have been seen on video kicking and slapping handcuffed suspects who were lying on the ground during an arrest in Northwest Miami-Dade.
A police sergeant who was charged with rough arrest for slapping a handcuffed suspect said he deemed it necessary because the suspect was about to spit on him.
Miami-Dade Sgt. Manuel Regueiro was acquitted by a jury this month after a three day trial.
“I don’t even know why they charged this,” one juror in the Regueiro case told the Herald.
“They didn’t even have evidence, other than the video.”
Lawyers representing police officers say that the string of losses at trial shows that the public, despite social-media fueled outrage spurred by videos, tend to side with cops.
“Many cases are prosecuted because the state commits to social media fury before the full and complete investigation,” said Miami lawyer Robert Buschel, who won an acquittal for Miami-Dade Sgt. Gustavo de los Rios, who was accused of misdemeanor battery for kicking a handcuffed teen in February 2018.
“When it comes to cases involving potential violations of the law by police officers in use of force cases, our foundational principle is always ‘No one is above the law,’” added Ed Griffith, a Miami-Dade State Attorney’s spokesman.
“When we believe that evidence can prove a charge beyond and to the exclusion of a reasonable doubt, we will continue to bring charges before our criminal courts.”
Miami-Dade found itself under national scrutiny with the July 2016 shooting of Charles Kinsey, an unarmed black caretaker for an autistic man.
South Florida isn’t alone, the Herald says.
Nationally, despite video evidence, it’s not unusual for jurors to clear officers accused of excessive force while on duty. Experts caution that each case, in each city, is unique — and they don’t always fit neatly along racial lines.