An incident that happened few weeks ago once again sparks debate about law enforcement’s excessive use of force after police officer was caught on video heavily beating teenager, carjacking suspect, while in police custody. Fortunately, two other officers arrived immediately and prevented further escalation.
A police department was thrust into the spotlight after an incident involving one of its officers ignited widespread outrage. The incident, concerning a now-former police officer named M. Rodriguez, has led to significant legal actions. Rodriguez has been charged federally by US Attorney Dawn Ison, after being accused of using excessive force against a teenager.
Recently, the 19-year-old J. Smith was being booked on carjacking charges when the incident occurred. A surveillance video reveals a normal conversation between Rodriguez and Smith quickly escalating into violence. Rodriguez is seen striking Smith’s face, throwing him against the wall, and repeatedly slamming his head onto the floor.
Upon the release of the video which can be found in the end of this article, the police department acted swiftly, placing Rodriguez under internal investigation. The evidence led to his termination from the force shortly after.
But the legal consequences did not end there. The Prosecutor’s Office, recognizing the gravity of the case, quickly charged Rodriguez with misdemeanor assault and battery, along with willful neglect of duty. The Macomb County Prosecutor emphasized that Rodriguez would be held to the same legal standards as any other citizen.
“It should send a clear message to those officers who defy their oath, and the constitution, contrary to the vast majority of law enforcement officers who carry out their duties,” Ison said via FOX2.
The federal criminal complaint says Rodriguez punched Smith repeatedly in the head, forcibly pulling his hair to slam his head into the ground, and further causing harm by lifting and kicking his feet.
The paperwork goes on to say: “WPD’s non-lethal use of force policy provides that officers use only the minimum amount of force necessary to affect and arrest, overcome resistance, defend themselves or others, or to gain control.”
This shocking event has drawn attention from both local police and the FBI. Special Acting Agent Devin Kowalski publicly shared his distress at the video footage, saying it “broke his heart,” and openly labeled the officer’s behavior as “completely unacceptable.”
“Actions like that compromise trust in the community, the trust the community has with law enforcement. I commend the Macomb County Prosecutor, the police department as well as the US Attorney for aggressively investigating this,” he said according to FOX2.
“This is not what we do. This is not who we are,” Police Commissioner William Dwyer said, while praising two other officers who reported the disturbing attack just an hour after it happened. Although the footage does not show the officers stopping the attack, their chief claimed one repeatedly told Rodriguez: “That’s enough! That’s enough!”
The incident, recorded on video without audio but clearly displaying a verbal altercation between Smith and Rodriguez prior to the assault, has led to additional legal measures. Smith has filed a civil rights lawsuit against Officer Rodriguez, the city of Warren, and two other officers present during the attack, citing their failure to intervene.
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