Sgt. Jose Perez, A Miami Beach police officer, was seen kicking a man in the head in a surveillance video from the Royal Palm Hotel. The cop has reportedly been promoted to the rank of sergeant.
Kevin Perez, another of the five cops facing assault charges in connection with the July 26 incident, was engaged in a tragic police-involved shooting on Miami Beach a year and a half ago.
According to local10 News, Kevin Perez (not related to Sgt. Jose Perez) fired 14 shots at a knife-wielding man. One of the shots struck a fellow cop, who was afterward exonerated of any involvement.
Officer Robert Sabatar is accused of assaulting witness Khalid Vaughn at the Royal Palm Hotel last Monday while Vaughn was recording the arrest on his mobile phone.
When Vaughn is forcefully thrown to the ground and pummeled repeatedly, he appears to obey instructions to back away.
Officers David Rivas and Steven Serrano are also accused of using excessive force.
As the inquiry proceeds, all five policemen have been removed of their duties.
Miami Beach made it “unlawful for any person, after receiving a warning, to approach or remain within 20 feet of a law enforcement officer engaged in the lawful performance of any legal duty.”
Provoking, harassing, or interfering with a cop’s activities is illegal, however, the video released Monday shows the witness Vaughn doing none of those things.
“This is by no means at all a reflection of the dedicated men and women of the Miami Beach Police Department,” Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Clements said Monday. “Moving forward, I can tell you that my staff and I promise you, as individuals and as an agency, that we will learn from this. And we will grow from this.”
Officers clearly need additional training, according to State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.
“What we really know we need to do in training is really explain the duty to intervene, a duty to de-escalate, a duty to report,” she said. “They’re not just words. They have to be trained. There’s a cultural shift that needs to occur.”