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City leaders don’t have much to say as Miami Beach cops’ actions on video are probed

New video showed officers taunting suspect who had been tackled and bloodied

The video exclusively first aired by Local 10 News shows officers telling a handcuffed and bloodied suspect to “stop crying” and one even grabbing the man's Gatorade and sounding like he took a sip.
The video exclusively first aired by Local 10 News shows officers telling a handcuffed and bloodied suspect to “stop crying” and one even grabbing the man's Gatorade and sounding like he took a sip.

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.

Khalid Vaughn was recording that arrest with his cellphone when he was tackled by police, also captured on video.

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.

One of the Miami Beach police officers in seen on bodycam video drinking the handcuffed man's Gatorade. That suspect had his charges dropped while the officers are now the ones facing charges and scrutiny.
One of the Miami Beach police officers in seen on bodycam video drinking the handcuffed man's Gatorade. That suspect had his charges dropped while the officers are now the ones facing charges and scrutiny.

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.”


About the Author:

Reporter Rosh Lowe is covering the Surfside building collapse and other news for Local 10 News.