MIAMI – Two civil rights groups are urging Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle to file criminal charges against a county police officer who was recorded getting into a struggle with a woman after she had reported a crime.
Dyma Loving said a neighbor pulled a gun on her while she was walking in southwest Miami-Dade County in early March. Loving called police for help, but when Officer Alejandro Giraldo arrived, she and Giraldo started to argue. Giraldo eventually grabbed her by the neck, forced Loving to the ground and arrested her. A bystander recorded the incident using a mobile phone.
The Miami-Dade Police Department also released video from Giraldo's body camera. After video of the arrest attracted widespread attention, the department relieved Giraldo of duty, calling the incident "deeply troubling."
Loving, 26, was initially charged with disorderly conduct and resisting an officer without violence, but those charges were later dropped. She is pursuing a civil lawsuit against Giraldo.
"She called the police for help, but what we know is that police officers in situations like that are often not the ones who are doing what they were sworn to do -- to serve and protect," said Mary Beth Onyeukwu, of the Color of Change group.
The groups collected more than 50,000 signatures calling for Giraldo to be charged and delivered them to Rundle's office in Miami Tuesday. The local chapter of the NAACP has also called for criminal charges.
The activists believe that Giraldo, who is Hispanic, treated Loving differently because she is a black woman.
"Officer Giraldo’s actions were racist. They were in excusable and he cannot be trusted to protect and serve the Miami Dade community," said Natalie Green, of Ultraviolet.