Previous complaints filed against Miami police officer accused of punching suspect

Officer John Hinson suspended with pay pending internal investigation

MIAMI – Local 10 News has learned of several past complaints about the Miami police officer now suspended during an investigation into his actions with a handcuffed suspect.

At least four people have filed complaints with the Miami Police Department's internal affairs against Officer John Hinson since he was hired in 2010.

Wanda Bruce was one of them, alleging Hinson verbally treated her badly during a vigil she attended for a loved one.

"He talked to people so nasty," Bruce said.

Bruce told investigators that Hinson told her, "If you put your raggedy ass on my car again I'm going to arrest your raggedy ass and put you in the back seat of my car."

Citing lack of witnesses, investigators found her complaint unsubstantiated.

In 2012, according to city documents, Miami resident Jeffrey Mellerson claimed Hinson cursed and threatened to arrest him for trespassing in the rooming house where he rented.

In 2010, internal affairs received separate complaints from men who claimed Hinson cursed and roughed them up.

Because all complaints were deemed unsubstantiated, the president of Miami's Fraternal Order of Police calls them a "non-issue." He also insists the visuals on the cellphone video last Thursday show only part of a story.

A resident of Liberty Square recorded the non-eventful arrest of a man for trespassing, after which Hinson puts him in the back seat of the patrol car in handcuffs, stands at the open back door, then apparently strikes at the handcuffed suspect, crawling in the back seat after him.

"I don't see anyone getting struck in the video. I see a reaction. I see a struggle," FOP President Javier Ortiz told Local 10 News. "We don't know what happened in that vehicle. He could've spat on the officer, he could've threaten to spit on the officer or bite the officer. I don't know what they're going to say. That's why we're waiting like everyone else."

Hinson is suspended with pay as his department investigates the incident seen on the cellphone video.

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