Hallandale Beach, FL — City and police officials are on the defense this week after video surfaced showing two police officers pummel a man with their batons. The man was suspected of stealing a cellphone but may now be entitled to a lawsuit after police were seen hitting him even after he was knocked to the ground.
The incident happened on Thursday and was captured on video and uploaded to Twitter. In the video's description, the user, who goes by the handle 1, wrote that the man is known around the area to be mentally challenged.
"Police brutality in broad daylight on Hallandale Beach Blvd," the Twitter user wrote. "Police heavily beat this man up busted his head open led him to bleed heavily. The man is known around the area to be a mentally challenged individual."
As the video begins, the suspect, Daniel Dunkelberger, 27, is seen standing near the police cruiser. The officers are yelling at him to "get on the ground," and he does not immediately comply. So, they begin pummeling him.
The baton cracking off Dunkelberger's head is so loud, it echos on the video. After the heavy blow to his head, Dunkelberger goes down to the ground. Taser wires can be seen, indicating that police had already deployed the taser and as one officer moves them out of the way, he hits the motionless man again for good measure.
"Doesn't that hurt?" one officer remarks as he waylays the man on the ground.
"Stop fucking hitting him!" screams the man filming. "He didn't do anything."
Illustrating just how unnecessary their use of force was in this incident, the officers were able to divert their attention to the man filming for several moments—one even turning his back to Dunkelberger—without anything happening.
After beating him into submission, Dunkelberger appeared to be somewhat unconscious as police handcuffed his limp body.
According to police, Dunkelberger had stolen a man's cellphone and charger from his unlocked vehicle.
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Two officers, Jaime Cerna, an 11-year veteran, and Richard Allen, a 35-year veteran who retired and now works on an hourly basis, responded to the call.
"I then deployed my Taser, which was ineffective,'' Cerna wrote in Dunkelberger's arrest report. "The defendant then stood up and fled on foot. I was able to deploy a second cartridge, which the defendant appeared to withstand.''
"I applied several strikes to the lower area of his legs. The defendant then went to the ground, where he was restrained with handcuffs," read the police report.
He "tensed his body to impede officer from placing him under arrest," Cerna wrote.
"The defendant was re-directed to the ground where he landed in the crawling position and braced his body to prevent officer from placing him in restraints," the report said.
The report never mentioned the officer walloping Dunkelberger in the head or hitting him as he lie motionless on the ground.
"We do have a situation today where there's video of two of our officers in an altercation with someone," City Manager Roger Carlton told reporters. "I will tell you after viewing that video it is of serious concern to the police department, to me as city manager and certainly to our elected officials."
After the video surfaced on Twitter, the department also responded.
"We are aware of the video that was released to the media today," Capt. Ra Shana A. Dabney-Donovan said in the news release. "We ask that the public and the media remain patient while we conduct a thorough and objective internal affairs investigation. We also would like the opportunity to obtain all video surveillance from the area that will depict the entire incident."
According to police, the two officers are now on administrative leave, pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
Below is the disturbing video. Let us know if you think the officers' use of force was necessary, in the comments below.