Hallandale Beach Police Investigating Video of Officers Hitting Suspect With Batons

Police said they are conducting a "thorough and objective internal affairs investigation" into the incident

Hallandale Beach Police are investigating after two officers were caught on camera hitting a man repeatedly with batons during a recent burglary arrest.

The incident happened Wednesday outside a business in the 900 block of W. Hallandale Beach Boulevard, according to the man who witnessed the incident and captured the footage.

The footage shows the man, identified by police as 27-year-old Daniel James Dunkelberger, standing near a marked police cruiser as the two officers repeatedly hit him with their batons.

"Get on the ground, get on the ground!" the officers yell before Dunkelberger is pushed to the ground to the ground.

"Yo, he didn't do anything, stop f--king hitting him!" an onlooker yells as one of the officers hits Dunkelberger a final time with the baton.

According to the arrest report, Dunkelberger was seen stealing a cellphone from a car nearby. The report said that when officers tried to arrest him, he "tensed his body to impede officer from placing him under arrest."

The report said an officer used a Taser twice on Dunkelberger but it was ineffective both times. Dunkelberger fled on foot and refused to comply and that's when the officers switched to their expandable batons, the report said.

"The cop was still beating him when he was on the ground and I know the cops are not supposed to do that because he wasn't posing any threat," said the man who recorded the video, who wished to not be identified. 

The witness said the man is known in the area and is believed to be mentally challenged.

"It made me sad. It made me feel like citizens have no rights and it was kind of inhumane to do something like that," said the witness, who didn't want to be identified.

Police said they are conducting a "thorough and objective internal affairs investigation" into the incident.

The officers, Jamie Cerna, an 11-year veteran, and Richard Allen, a 35-year veteran, have both been suspended. Cerna is suspended with pay, while Allen is not, since he came out of retirement and is paid hourly. 

"We also would like the opportunity to obtain all video surveillance from the area," police said in a statement.

"After viewing that video, it is of serious concern to the police department," said Roger Carlton, the City Manager. 

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