Miami, FL — When people get excited about police wearing body cameras and their potential to accurately document the situation, it is important to remember that the video will only exist if the person wearing that camera allows it to. Highlighting this point is the recent case out of Miami in which a police officer was recorded covering his body camera as he and his fellow officers waylaid a suspect.
Despite happening close to two years ago, the public is only just now seeing the brutal and corrupt arrest of Ravon Boyd.
In May of 2017, Boyd was suspected of robbery when he fled from police. When officers finally found him, he was hiding in an alley, cornered with nowhere to go.
As police approached Boyd, as the video clearly shows, Boyd put his hands in the air, got down on the pavement with his face toward the ground, and outstretched his hands in front of him. He had effectively surrendered and was allowing police to take him in.
However, one officer, Miami Police Sgt. Claude Adam could not control himself and ran up to Boyd and kicked his right foot at his head. He then appears to deliver a knee to Boyd's face, before stepping on his foot and falling to the ground.
Just as Adam kicks, we can hear “I’m gonna kick you in your f**king mouth, you f**king piece of s**t.”
Officers Juan Casiano, Alan Perez, and Brian Castro were also on the scene. It was Castro's body camera, however, that had the best view of the incident. But that would quickly be remedied as Castro covered up his camera.
For the next few moments, grunts and groans could be heard as officers proceeded to allegedly dole out their street justice.
Despite video showing Boyd having his hands outstretched when police arrived, all four officers filled out use of force reports claiming Boyd had his hands under his body and they all claimed he was "reaching for a weapon."
As shown in the video, this was clearly a lie as Boyd positioned his arms out on the ground and was allowing officers to arrest him.
Casiano wrote in Boyd’s arrest affidavit, “The defendant was tucking his hands under his body not allowing officers to place hand restraints on the defendant. After a brief struggle the defendant’s hands became free and I was able to place him into custody.”
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As the video shows, this was a lie and Boyd only appeared to not have his hands out as he went into the fetal position to protect himself from their blows.
In spite of the clearly recorded threat to kick Boyd in the face, specifically his mouth, internal affairs completely cleared Adam of any wrongdoing. Despite lying about Boyd's arms being under his body, internal affairs believed Adam when he told them that he “kicked the black item out of the reach of the subject.”
In spite of images clearly showing Boyd's injuries sustained during the arrest, officer all claimed Boyd was not injured.
The only officer to be handed anything resembling accountability was Castro after police discovered that he had deliberated covered his body camera to avoid recording Boyd's arrest. While the department filed the paperwork to have Castro fired, however, he resigned—a move often made by cops facing charges or firings.
No one else was held accountable.
“It appears to me they didn’t discern what was truly seen on the video. They didn’t hear what we heard, which required some careful listening,” said Cristina Beamud, Miami’s Civilian Investigative Panel’s executive director, to the Miami Herald. “They didn’t explore the notion that there was no object and it appeared that [Adam] made contact with [Boyd’s] head.”
During the discovery phase of Boyd's trial, the department made no mention of this video. Not until nearly two years after he was arrested did his attorney Andrew Rier ever see it.
“He clearly gave himself up. He was laying in a prone position. He was covering his head,” Rier said. “The video shows no effort to secure the suspect. It shows a singular effort to beat the suspect and a deliberate effort to conceal the beating.”
After watching the video below, you will likely agree.
To be clear, Ravon Boyd is not some innocent man who didn't deserve to be arrested that day. He was seen on video stealing money from a man's pockets as his friend attacked him. Boyd deserves to be in jail and he is.
However, because police couldn't control their tendencies toward violence and corruption, this convicted robber will likely be given a hefty taxpayer-funded settlement for his abuse. A travesty on all fronts.