A Hollywood, Florida police officer was reassigned to administrative duty after parents of a teenager accused him and other officers of using excessive force in their son’s arrest Tuesday, news sources indicate. The officer, whose identity has not been made public, may face arrest or a possible lawsuit as an internal investigation unfolds. It is unclear whether he has retained a private criminal defense lawyer. It is also unknown whether any of the other accused officers will face repercussions.
Reports say the incident of alleged police brutality began last week. The teenager in question has not been identified publicly, nor have the officers involved. Surveillance footage showed a group of officers forcefully removing the seventeen-year-old from his vehicle and shoving him to the ground. The parents allege that the officers then proceeded to punch and kick the teen as they handcuffed him. In the video, which was aired on several local news stations, one officer can reportedly be seen putting his knee on the back of the teen’s neck, while another officer is spotted kicking the teen as many as two times as the victim is pulled to his feet.
The parents spoke with the department’s internal affairs unit on Monday, sources say, though a spokesperson from the city says they have not filed a formal complaint. The department has also decided not to make any further comments on the allegations as they are currently carrying out an internal investigation into the issue. For now, the department has reassigned at least one officer, though it is unclear if more officers will be reprimanded and possibly face legal charges or a civil lawsuit.
The events leading up to the arrest of the teenager occurred around 6 in the evening on August 14. An officer with the Hollywood department reportedly noticed a black Chevrolet Impala driving dangerously along the 3300 block of Sheridan Street. When the officer attempted to pull the car over, the driver, who was later identified as the teen, sped off. According to police reports, the vehicle ran two red lights as it fled, heading eastbound on Sheridan Street. During the chase, officers say that a passenger in the vehicle got out of the vehicle and fled on foot. Police, for reasons not made clear in the report, did not arrest him or her.
At one point, officers allege that the teenager placed his car in reverse and smashed into one of their cruisers before speeding off once more. When officer finally did get the teen to come to a stop at the corner of Phippen Waiter Road and Dixie Highway, they ordered him to exit the vehicle. Then, officers say, he refused, placed his hand behind his back and tensed his body. Police then reportedly arrested the boy.
Upon searching his vehicle, officers reportedly found marijuana spilled on the front seat and center console. There is no word of whether the drugs belonged to the teen or the unidentified passenger. The teen was charged with aggravated battery on a police officer, resisting arrest, and eluding police.