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Man involved in controversial arrest with Miami officer accepts plea deal

Mario Figueroa fired after incident caught on camera

MIAMI – A man involved in a controversial arrest in Miami accepted a plea agreement Tuesday to avoid trial.

The deal covers the charges stemming from the arrest and earlier probation violations. David Suazo, 31, faces up to 31 months in jail.

On May 3, police said Suazo crashed a stolen Jeep and fled from officers on foot. When officers caught up to Suazo in the Culmer Place Apartments in Overtown, he was combative and an officer shot Suazo with a Taser, police said.

However, cellphone video showed an officer, later identified as Mario Figueroa, attempting to kick Suazo in the head as the man was facedown on the ground and motionless.

Suazo was taken to a hospital after complaining of chest pains. At the hospital, Fiqueroa's body camera recorded, Suazo saying, "Missed trying to kick. Learn how to aim, my boy."

"If I wanted to kick you, you know I would have kicked you, right," Figueroa says in reply.

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Figueroa, a two-year veteran of the force, was fired a week later after the video was made public. Figueroa was also charged with assault, a second-degree misdemeanor. His trial is set for October.

Suazo's lawyer, Rod Vereen, said his client agreed to the plea deal because of his other legal troubles.

"Even though he had a defense he could have raised with regard to the new offenses, it was in his best interests to close it out without contesting it because it doesn't make sense to go forward on the violation of probation. ... (The judge) could have given him a lot more time," Vereen said.

Vereen said the officer's misconduct went beyond what was recorded.

"There were some batteries that also occurred. The video didn't show that because the video was turned off. But he was assaulted," Vereen said.

 


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