Miami police shown punching, kicking Black man in cellphone video

The department has a history of using excessive and deadly force

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Miami police officers were caught on cellphone video punching and kicking a Black man in the Liberty City neighborhood on Sunday.

NiNi Milton, the woman who witnessed and recorded the attack on her cellphone, described it as yet another example of excessive use of force. 

“He can’t breathe, he said he can’t breathe,” she can be heard saying in the recording of the arrest. 

Milton told Local 10 News that she noticed the tense confrontation between the police and 25-year-old Leskeil Richards while driving from a funeral. When officers saw her recording the scene, they threatened to cite her for stopping traffic. 

The video shows Richards being punched in the face and kicked by multiple cops while being physically restrained during a traffic stop. According to police, Richards was asked to get out of the vehicle after the car he was in was pulled over for speeding. He reportedly resisted and grabbed an officer by the wrist to stop him from handcuffing him. Police said multiple officers ordered Richards to comply and he refused, prompting his violent arrest. He was hospitalized for the injures sustained during the brutal encounter. 

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On Monday evening, Richards was being treated at Jackson Memorial Hospital when he reportedly ran away from the officers on guard. Authorities are now on the hunt for him, claiming he is a dangerous criminal with a long rap sheet. 

Richards is accused of resisting arrest and faces multiple charges, including battery of an officer. After fleeing the hospital, he posted a video online explaining to his concerned family that his reaction during the arrest was out of fear the cops would kill him — see the clip above.

“We know somebody out there is harboring him and that indeed is criminal. You need to call us if you are harboring him,” said Miami Police Officer Kenia Fallat. “We’re eager to capture him. We don’t want him to continue committing crimes. He has a long and extensive criminal past,” she added.

Congresswoman Frederica Wilson responded to the rough arrest, saying in part “…this new allegation of police misconduct involving punching, kicking and a headlock…a thorough investigation is required and swift firings and punishment must follow.”

She also noted, “We will not allow our beautiful city to return to the day when Black men were viewed as caricatures, beaten, and murdered by the police. A thorough investigation is required and swift firings and punishments must follow.”

The woman who recorded the video took to FacebookLive to express her frustration at how the police handled arresting Richards, NBC Miami reports. 

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“A lot of these police go out here and they act off of anger, they act out of what’s being said to them instead of focusing on what the job at hand actually is,” she said. “This dude was so focused on this boy and roughing him up that they didn’t even follow proper procedure when they stopped him.”

Leskeil Richards, YouTube screenshot

The Miami Police Department has a history of using excessive and deadly force. In 2018, an officer seen on video violently kicking a handcuffed man in the head, was fired and charged with assault. In 2019, a disturbing video went viral showing Miami-Dade police officers brutally arresting a Black woman who called them for help has prompted an internal investigation, theGRIO reported. 

The Department of Justice recently announced it is ending its five-year probe of the Miami Police department. In its final report, the DOJ said: “MPD has collaborated with DOJ in revising policies, procedures or practices relating to the use of force that the DOJ deems to be deficient.”

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