Several officers of the Hollywood, Florida police department may face misconduct charges following allegations that they used excessive force in the arrest of Alex Cabrera earlier this month, news sources say. Cabrera, 17, was arrested for allegedly trying to flee police and even crashing into a cruiser with his vehicle. The arrest, which involved officers tackling Cabrera and pinning him to the ground, was captured on video, sources indicate, and may be used as grounds in a lawsuit by Cabrera and his parents in the near future.
Reports say the arrest occurred on August 14 when Hollywood police officers attempted to pull over Cabrera’s black Chevrolet. Police reported that rather than complying, Cabrera sped off. During the chase, officers say Cabrera flew through two red lights on Sheridan Street and, at one point, put his vehicle into reverse, smashed into one of their cruisers, and took off again. No one was hurt in the allegedly dangerous and violent chase.
When Cabrera eventually stopped, arresting officers say they ordered him out of the vehicle. Cabrera allegedly refused to put his hands behind his back. From there, video captured by a nearby surveillance camera shows officers taking down the teen. Reports say that it looks as if one officer strikes the suspect with his fist and knees him in the head. Another officer is purported to have placed his knee on Cabrera’s neck after Cabrera had been cuffed.
Cabrera was arrested on multiple charges, including possession of marijuana, aggravated battery on a police officer, and resisting arrest without violence. He was released from the Broward Juvenile Detention Center last Wednesday and has since offered the press his side of the story. “When he punched me, he yanked me out of the car. As he yanked me both sides of my shirt ripped,” he explained. During the arrest, Cabrera also alleges that he heard one officer say something threating, “They said ‘[you’re] lucky it’s [not] nighttime,'” he told reporters.
Reports say Cabrera also contested claims that he rammed into a police cruiser. “The police cruiser hit me in the back as I was driving,” he explained to the press. “I never put it in reverse. I kept going straight, the police cruiser hit me, and so he wouldn’t get in trouble he said I hit him.”
Cabrera’s parents have issued a complaint with the Hollywood Police Department’s internal affairs unit. In response, internal affairs and launched an investigation into the alleged misconduct. Although Cabrera has not seen the video himself, his parents have reportedly viewed in a few times and have concluded that police used excessive force in their son’s arrest. “I can understand aggression, and you have the adrenaline going, and you yank him out of the car and you want to make sure you get your suspect in there. But you clearly see that it was beyond what should’ve happened,” Cabrera’s mother told the press.
As the department carries out its internal investigation, it remains to be seen whether the officers involved in Cabrera’s case will face criminal charges or other disciplinary action. It is likely that Cabrera and his parents will pursue a civil lawsuit against the department.