MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Video showing Miami Beach police officers taunting a handcuffed suspect has raised eyebrows across South Florida since it aired exclusively on Local 10 News on Friday.
But the reaction from the mayor and city manager has not been as strong.
Local 10 tried to get both to speak on camera about the new police bodyworn camera video but both declined, instead releasing statements.
“My understanding is the incident and all the attendant conduct of the officers are under the same investigation,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said in his statement. “Obviously I’ve expressed my concern with what everybody has seen on the videos but I need to respect the ongoing criminal and administrative reviews.”
City Manager Alina Hudaks’ office said simply: “The entire incident remains under investigation.”
On Friday, Miami Beach police released a statement saying: “We remain committed to the process and allowing the investigation to take its course.”
Five officers were charged with battery and three now face felony charges for their actions on that night of July 26.
Those charges came after separate video showed another suspect being kicked in the head during a rough arrest inside the Royal Palm Hotel on South Beach.
The new police bodycam video aired on Local 10 News on Friday showed Vaughn with his head bloodied afterward, pleading with officers that he did nothing wrong and obeyed their orders to back up before he was tackled.
In that video, police tell Vaughn to “stop crying” and say “you chose your destiny.”
One cop charged with battery is then seen taking Vaughn’s Gatorade. Off-camera you can hear sounds of delight and someone saying they were now hydrated.
The state attorney’s office would later agree with Vaughn that he followed police commands and did nothing wrong, dropping his charges.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle has vowed a “thorough and complete” investigation into the actions of the officers on that night.
“All aspects of this July 26th police incident are taken very seriously by my prosecutors,” she said in a statement last month. “The investigation has been and will be as thorough and complete as possible since our entire community has been shocked and offended by what we have seen.”