THE GOULDS, Fla. – Witnesses recorded videos showing a group of police officers arresting four people early Friday morning in south Miami-Dade County. The officers are under investigation. One of the videos shows a man on the floor, facing down, and an officer punching him in the head.
The Mami-Dade Police Department released a statement describing the arrest that prompted the chaotic scene as “a physical confrontation with an armed convicted felon.”
The arrests of three witnesses and a suspect were in a small shopping mall near the intersection of Southwest 224th Street and Allappattah Road in Miami-Dade’s Goulds neighborhood. Two of the three witnesses arrested were a father and son who own a business at the mall.
Witnesses said they saw a man drive into the parking lot in what appeared to be a traffic stop. They said they saw the man argue with the officers before they tackled him to the ground. Videos show officers surrounding him as he faced down on the floor.
The videos show there were women screaming at the officers to stop hitting the man.
“Get away,” one of the officers said.
A woman who was recording a video responded, “You get away!”
According to Detective Alvaro Zabaleta, the man who was first arrested is 29-year-old Javaris Swanson. Records show he has been on a 5-year probation since he was released from prison on March 21, 2020. Swanson was convicted of attempted felony murder during an attempted armed robbery on March 19, 2010, when he was 17 years old.
During the arrests, officers seized three firearms, according to the statement. The officers involved were reassigned to administrative duties pending the results of an internal affairs investigation, police said. Zabaleta did not release the identities of the other three arrested.
The complete MDPD statement:
The Mami-Dade Police Department is aware of an incident that occurred overnight in our South District where our officers were involved in a physical confrontation with an armed convicted felon. During this incident, a total of four individuals were arrested and three firearms were seized. In our continued efforts of full transparency, we immediately initiated an internal affairs investigation into the matter with our Professional Compliance Bureau. The officers involved have been reassigned to administrative duties. We will continually evaluate this case, as the internal affairs process continues
Local 10 News Assignment Desk Editor Allison Cubillos contributed to this report.