MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Authorities have arrested a Miami-Dade County police officer who was recorded getting into a struggle with a woman after she had reported a crime.
Officer Alejandro Giraldo faces charges of official misconduct and battery.
"After taking the sworn statements ... and reviewing all the known video evidence, we believe that there is sufficient evidence to charge a violation of Florida's criminal statutes," prosecutors said in a statement.
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 Giraldo arrived, she and Giraldo started to argue. Giraldo eventually grabbed Loving by the neck, forced her 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."
"An arrest of one of our own is disappointing, and overshadows the hard work of the dedicated men and women of law enforcement, who strive daily to serve and protect our community," Miami-Dade County police Director Juan Perez said in a statement. "This particular case underscores our commitment to cooperate and work together with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office in our continued effort to hold ourselves accountable."
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.
Although Loving's attorney, Justin Moore, praised the Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office for prosecuting Giraldo, he said he and his client were disappointed with the severity of the charges.
"She does believe that the battery she experienced that day should have amounted to a felony and that other officers present, including but not limited to Officer J.F. Calderon should be facing similar charges," Moore said.
In the arrest report, prosecutors rebutted Giraldo's explanations for why he arrested Loving. In his police report, Giraldo said Loving would not obey commands, was uncooperative and screamed at officers. However, prosecutors said they found no evidence to support Giraldo's statements.
In the video, prosecutors said Loving did obey Giraldo's commands, calming down after Giraldo threatened her with arrest. Officer Cassandra Bissett, who initially responded to Loving's call, said Loving was upset, but was not being disruptive.
"Giraldo knowingly and intentionally caused harm to Ms. Loving," the report said.
Giraldo was arrested on Thursday and has since been released from jail.