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Prosecutor: Hollywood Police Officer Charged With Battery For Hitting Handcuffed Suspect

HOLLYWOOD (CBSMiami) -- A Hollywood police officer is now facing a battery charge after home surveillance video shows him hitting a handcuffed suspect, according to the Broward State Attorney's Office.

Prosecutors filed the first-degree misdemeanor charge against Officer Matthew Barbieri on Thursday for the incident, which took place on August 6, 2019.

The misdemeanor battery charge carries a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail if he is convicted.

According to the police arrest report, Barbieri, 34, and another officer were called to a domestic disturbance in Hollywood the night of August 6. The Hollywood Police Chief said it happened at a home in the 2400 block of Cleveland Street.

There was a home security system set up in the apartment and the video reportedly shows Barbieri striking "the victim's face twice."

The victim, the arrest report states, appeared to be "under the influence of a controlled substance."

According to that report, Barbieri leads the suspect, who was naked, out of a bathroom handcuffed and "admits he had just tried to get rid of potential narcotics evidence."

Out of camera view in the hallway, the man "can be heard claiming to be in pain as it is believed handcuffs are being placed on him," states the report.

After Barbieri walks back into the bathroom "in an attempt to locate narcotics," the suspect yells, "Wait a minute, wait a minute, nobody gave you permission to search the house. There's no warrant, no nothing. There's no permission."

The second officer tells him to "Shut the **** up," and he replied, "What do you mean shut the **** up? No permission, bro."

Officer Barbieri suddenly leaves the bathroom and enters the hallway where the other officer is detaining the suspect and the man yells, "Ow! you did that to me last time didn't you."

"Then Barbieri strikes his face twice, with his right hand, before placing his left hand on his throat as the suspect slides down the wall to the ground," states the report.

Barbieri can reportedly be heard saying "How about now? How about now? Do I have permission now?"

The man was not seriously hurt and was taken into custody and charged with heroin possession.

Officer Barbieri is scheduled to appear in Broward County Court on Oct. 21.

Hollywood Police Chief Chris O'Brien said in a statement, "When I was made aware of this incident, I was extremely disappointed and immediately relieved the officer of all departmental duties. I also initiated an internal affairs investigation which lead to the officer being criminally charged. We serve our community with integrity and accountability. As peace officers we hold our duties to the people we serve to the highest standards. The actions committed by this officer in no way represent the core values which we pride ourselves in each and every day."

The incident follows a number of similar stories this year in South Florida.

On June 28th, BSO deputy Jorge Sobrino was charged with misdemeanor battery after surveillance tape reportedly showed him punching a man who was handcuffed to a hospital bed on Jan. 2nd of this year.

On August 7th, Homestead Police officer Lester Brown was charged with felony battery after surveillance cameras reportedly showed him pushing a suspect's head into a wall, causing facial bleeding.

On Friday afternoon Rod Skirving, President of the Broward Police Benevolent Association (PBA), released the following statement:

"Matthew Barbieri is a member of the Broward County PBA and he will be assigned an attorney to represent him in this case. We have not seen the video at this time so we cannot comment on it. Our officers are put in stressful and dangerous situations every day that they put on a uniform and go to work, and domestic calls are at the top of that list. Officer Barbieri should be afforded the same due process as every other citizen and not be judged until all the facts are known and presented."

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