What to Know
- 3 of the 5 officers allegedly involved in an incident involving rough arrests at a Miami Beach hotel are now facing felony charges
- Multiple cameras captured the July 26 incident at the Royal Palm hotel
- Miami-Dade's State Attorney said further investigation led prosecutors to upgrade charges from a misdemeanor to a felony
Three Miami Beach Police officers who were involved in the rough arrests of two men at a South Beach hotel that was caught on camera are now facing upgraded felony charges in the incident.
Surveillance and body camera footage of the July incident show officers kicking a handcuffed suspect on the floor of the hotel lobby after a foot chase as well as an officer tackling and punching a bystander who had been using a cellphone to record the arrest.
In a statement Thursday, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said that after receiving medical records and after further investigation into the July 26 incident at the Royal Palm Hotel, the misdemeanor charges that had been previously filed have been upgraded.
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"All aspects of this July 26th police incident are taken very seriously by my prosecutors," Fernandez Rundle's statement read. "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."
Sgt. Jose Perez and Officer Kevin Perez now face felony battery charges, while Officer Steven Serrano faces an official misconduct charge.
The new charges will be officially brought before a circuit court judge next week.
Two other officers - Robert Sabater and David Rivas - face misdemeanor charges in the incident.
The incident began when officials said officers approached 24-year-old Daltona Crudup for parking a scooter illegally on 9th Street and Ocean Court.
Crudup fled from officers and struck an officer with the scooter, officials said. The officer had to be hospitalized with a leg injury that required crutches.
While trying to get away, Crudup ran into the lobby of the hotel on Collins Avenue, where officers took him into custody.
Surveillance footage showed Crudup run into an elevator at the hotel, where he had been staying. Right behind him was an officer who took him into custody at gunpoint.
But moments later, several more officers responded and Crudup was kicked in the head multiple times while he was on the ground and in handcuffs, Fernandez Rundle said.
A second man, 28-year-old Khalid Vaughn, started taking video of Crudup’s arrest with his phone, and was arrested on charges of resisting an officer and interfering with a law enforcement investigation, officials said.
Body-worn footage showed an officer tackling Vaughn before another officer is seen repeatedly punching him in the rib cage area, Fernandez Rundle said.
The charges were later dropped against Vaughn.
Fernandez Rundle said Crudup did not sign the HIPPA waiver to allow prosecutors to view his medical records until Aug. 25, and that's when prosecutors were able to fully review the extent of Crudup’s injuries.
"A deeper understanding of the actual injuries was necessary to file these felony battery charges," Fernandez Rundle said.
The five officers were placed on administrative leave following the incident, and have been suspended.