Three Miami police officers are currently in trouble for aggressively handling a criminal suspect during an incident that occurred on Dec. 9th, 2021.
Local station WTVJ reports that the officers were responding to a domestic battery call when they ran into George Augustus, a local resident completely uninvolved in the case.
Video footage shows the officers repeatedly telling Augustus to back up and stop interfering in the investigation, but he refuses to comply.
“We’re conducting an investigation. You need to back up,” one officer, Sgt. Gary Sampson, says while waving his finger in Augustus’ face.
“Get your hands out of my face! You’re on my property, b—h!” Augustus responds.
Eventually, Sampson snaps, grabs Augustus by the neck, and pushes him against a fence, allowing his fellow officers to rush in and apprehend the criminal.
That was evidently error number one.
Error number two occurred shortly thereafter at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where Augustus complained his handcuffs/shackles were too tight and refused to walk.
“My ankle, my ankle! This shit’s too tight… I can’t walk. This shit’s scratching me. I ain’t walking. Do your job, b—h! Go ahead drag me,” Augustus rails in the video below.
In response, another officer, Bens Mocombe, drags him on the floor by his handcuffs as the other officers, including Elouse Joseph, and medical staff observe and do nothing. Joseph is cited for failing to report the dragging incident to a supervisor
Following the incident, an internal affairs investigation “cited Sampson for excessive force, improper procedure, and several other department policy violations in connection with the encounter,” according to the Miami New Times.
Moreover, an 11-member civilian oversight panel “voted that Mocombe and Sampson used excessive force and that all three officers violated policy,” WTVJ reports.
“Sergeant Sampson failed to document the fact that he grabbed the male in the neck/throat area in his Response to Resistance report,” the panel said.
The panel possesses no official power, and so it’s now up to the Miami Police Department to decide whether to pursue disciplinary measures.
This incident comes only weeks after the death of Tyre Nichols, who died while in police custody on Jan. 7th.
As previously reported, bodycam and surveillance footage showed the involved officers repeatedly bashing an unarmed, handcuffed Nichols — first in the body with a baton, and later right in the face with brutal, loud punches to the face.
The beating occurred after the officers stopped Nichols on the road due to alleged reckless driving.
“As officers approached the driver of the vehicle, a confrontation occurred, and the suspect fled the scene on foot. Officers pursued the suspect and again attempted to take the suspect into custody. While attempting to take the suspect into custody, another confrontation occurred; however, the suspect was ultimately apprehended,” police reportedly said at the time.
It was during the second confrontation that the beating occurred.
GRAPHIC VIDEO WARNING:
Here is an elevated view of the Tyree Nichols beating by Memphis Police.
You can see one officer using a baton then other officers kicking him and punching even after he’s handcuffed. pic.twitter.com/Em0qfFtwHB
— Sergio Quintana (@svqjournalist) January 28, 2023
The incident involving Augustus is one of several additional ones that have occurred since Nichols’ death.
Another one happened on Valentine’s Day in Durango, Colorado.
“The facts seem straightforward enough. The Durango Police Department received a call on Valentine’s Day that a man wanted on a warrant for sexual assault out of Montezuma County was inside The Boarding Haus snowboard and skate shop on Main Avenue in downtown Durango,” The Durango Herald reported.
“The caller, a close family member, warned police that the man – 19-year-old Samuel Keon Potterton of Telluride – would resist arrest. And he did,” the paper added.
Watch how Potterton behaved below:
The case seems pretty clear, except for one minor issue.
A local resident saw the arrest while walking by and decided to complain to The Durango Herald.
“I see egregious police violence against maybe a homeless man who was inside the door of a business. … What the problem was is irrelevant. It was ONE man and there were five cops. They had his arms pinned elbows up in violation of the Geneva Convention and simple good policing,” local resident Christa Turnell, a paralegal, wrote in an email to the paper.
She added that even if Potterton had murdered someone, it wouldn’t have been OK for the cops to get rough with him after he resisted arrest.
In response to her email, the paper contacted the police department. The department responded by releasing the bodycam footage and encouraging the paper to share it with its readers.
In addition, Deputy Police Chief Brice Current defended his officers, particularly for approaching Potterton in a group of five.
“People are asking for your help. You don’t want to come and be part of the problem. You want to be part of the solution. The more officers we have the safer it is taking somebody into custody. And the person that called us also told us, ‘Hey, this person will fight you,’” he said.
He also said his officers did a good job of trying to de-escalate the situation.
“He’s yelling at them. And they’re not even engaging him. They’re speaking to each other as if he’s not even there which takes a high level of patience, which is great and it’s part of our culture,” he said.
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