What to Know
- Ephraim Casado is suing the Miami-Dade Police Department, alleging officers beat him and then lied about it during his arrest in 2017
- The MDPD believes the officers did not commit any wrongdoings and there is no sufficient basis to file charges against them.
A Florida man is suing the Miami-Dade Police Department after state prosecutors decided not to charge the officers who he claims beat him, abused their authority and then lied about it.
In the March 2017 encounter, 21-year-old Ephraim Casado was pulled over by detectives for nearly causing a head-on crash and for throwing empty bottles outside of his car window, according to a police report obtained by NBC 6. He allegedly refused to pull over when police tried to do a traffic stop.
Through his attorney, Casado alleges that the officers roughed him up after he exited the car with his hands raised.
"Immediately after he's pulled over, they yanked him out and threw him in the back of his own car," said Igor Hernandez, Casado's lawyer. "And then they proceed to punch him in the face several times."
Casado was charged with resisting an officer with violence, criminal mischief and unlawful possession of cannabis, according to an August 2017 memorandum from Assistant State Attorney Natalie Pueschel. His charges have since been dropped.
One of the multiple videos of police body cam footage released by the MDPD shows an officer grabbing the Casado by the arm and throwing him on the back of his car. They hold him down while yelling at him to stop resisting. One of the detectives removes his body cam, and then puts it back on in the middle of the struggle. In another clip, an officer punches Casado in the face three times.
"You punched me," Casada tells an officer.
"You're f------ right I did," the officer replies.
Casado is accusing authorities for abusing their power and is seeking civil and punitive damages.
"It was clear to us that they did what they did because they thought they could get away with it," Hernandez said. "They beat him because they could. They lied about it because they could, and then their whole take on it was, 'What are you gonna do about it?'"
Casado's attorney says detectives lied on their report, based on the memo by the assistant state attorney that states the "officers were less than truthful about the actual events that occurred during this incident."
In a news conference Tuesday, the Miami-Dade Police Department director Juan Perez defended the detectives and said the state attorney's office later found inaccuracies in the memo, saying there is no sufficient basis to file charges.
Perez views Casado's case as an individual resisting arrest and believes the officers did not use excessive force.