Judge Acquits Miami Officer Accused of Kicking Handcuffed Suspect

A judge has acquitted a Miami police officer who was caught on video appearing to kick a handcuffed carjacking suspect last year in Overtown.

Miami Police Department officer Mario Figueroa faced a misdemeanor charge of assault in the May 2018 incident. On Wednesday, he was acquitted.

Police say they were chasing David Suazo, who was suspected of driving a stolen vehicle. 

In the video, which went viral on Facebook, the suspect is on the ground and in handcuffs when an officer runs and appears to kick the suspect in the face. He then drops to the ground and puts the man in a headlock.

In bodycam video obtained by NBC 6, Suazo is seen on the ground in handcuffs at the hospital and berating Figueroa for the kick.

"You missed trying to kick," Suazo is heard saying. "Learn how to aim, my boy."

"If I wanted to kick you, you know, I would have kicked you right," Figueroa said.

Figueroa is also heard telling Suazo he didn't kick him because he didn't want to kick him.

"I needed you to comply, so me pretending to kick you got you to comply," he said.

The State Attorney's Office said in a statement that "(The judge's) rationale was that he did not find that the victim (Souza) was in fear of imminent bodily harm."

The SAO added it is disappointed with the decision, which cannot be appealed because Figueroa was a Miami police officer for two years before he was fired. 

The Miami Police Department had no comment.

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