Miami-Dade Police have launched a criminal internal affairs investigation after one of their officers was caught on camera allegedly hitting a handcuffed suspect.
Officials with the department announced Monday that they are working with the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office on the investigation surrounding Sgt. Manuel Regueiro's actions during the March arrest of Brayn Crespo, who was charged with conspiring to deal in stolen property.
According to a warrant and an arrest affidavit, Crespo, who was 18 at the time, was arrested at his Miami-Dade home for allegedly stealing airbags out of vehicles.
Surveillance footage from inside Crespo's home showed officers breaking through a door and taking him into custody. As an officer is leading Crespo out of the home with his hands behind his back, Regueiro is seen smacking Crespo in the face.
"The actions depicted in the video are extremely disturbing and in no way represent the core values of our agency," Miami-Dade Police Director said in a statement Monday. "We hold ourselves accountable and any officers that violate the public’s trust will face the consequences of their actions."
Crespo's attorney, Cam Cornish, said he's outraged by the incident and said it was a violation of his client's civil rights. He added that he was disturbed by the reaction of the other officers in the video.
"If you look closely, you see that none of them react, none of them kind of like jerk back, or nobody even says 'hey man, don't punch this 18-year-old kid in the face,'" he said. "This officer did that because he wanted to, he did it because he could, and he did it because he thought he was going to get away with it."
Regueiro, who has been with the department for 18 years, has been suspended with pay pending the outcome of the investigation, officials said.
Crespo remained behind bars Monday, jail records showed.