Hollywood police officer charged with battery

Officer Matthew Barbieri, 34, accused of punching handcuffed suspect

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - Hollywood police Officer Matthew Barbieri has been charged with battery after home surveillance video showed him hitting a handcuffed suspect over the summer, Broward County State Attorney Michael J. Satz announced Friday in a news release.

According to the State Attorney's Office, prosecutors filed the first-degree misdemeanor charge against the 34-year-old officer on Thursday.

If convicted, Barbieri faces a maximum punishment of up to one year in jail.

According to his arrest affidavit, the incident occurred Aug. 6 when Barbieri and another officer, identified as Diante Roots, responded to a home in the 2400 block of Cleveland Street regarding a domestic disturbance.

The complainant told authorities that her son had taken heroin and was acting erratically, police said.

Authorities said the woman's son was found naked in the bathroom of his efficiency. He was holding a black belt, which he discarded when the officers came in.

According to the affidavit, the suspect was escorted out of the bathroom by Barbieri and is heard in the video claiming to be in pain. The man was not in camera view at the time, but authorities believe handcuffs were being placed on him.

Police said Barbieri is heard telling the man to "shut up" a couple of times as the man continued to act erratically.

According to the arrest affidavit, Barbieri re-entered the efficiency's bathroom in an apparent effort to locate narcotics, at which time the suspect began yelling: "Wait a minute, wait a minute. Nobody gave you permission to search the house. There's no warrant, no nothing. There's no permission."

Police said Roots told the man to "shut the f*** up," and the man responded, "No. There's no permission. What do you mean 'shut the f*** up?' No permission, bro."

Police said Barbieri then exited the bathroom and struck the victim twice in the face with his right hand before placing his left hand on the suspect's throat as the man slid down the wall to the floor.

The affidavit states that the man was heard repeatedly yelling, "Ow."

Barbieri responded by saying, "How about now? How about now? Do I have permission now?" the affidavit states.

Police said the suspect was arrested on a charge of possession of heroin. Authorities said he sustained a minor cut to his forehead.

According to the affidavit, Barbieri was heard in the video telling a third officer who arrived at the scene: "I'm gonna have to say that he was kicking."

Barbieri has been relieved of duty since the Hollywood Police Department was notified about the video, authorities said.

"When I was made aware of this incident, I was extremely disappointed, and immediately relieved the officer of all departmental duties. I also initiated an internal affairs investigation, which led to the officer being charged criminally. We serve our community with integrity and accountability. As peace officers we hold our duties to the people we serve to the highest standards," Hollywood Police Chief Chris O'Brien said in a statement. "The actions committed by this officer in no way represent the core values which we pride ourselves in each and every day. I believe in our system of checks and balances, which were implemented to ensure officers who commit acts such as this, are identified and held accountable."   

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