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Miami-Dade State Attorney: 3 South Florida Police Officers Charged In Separate Incidents

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - The Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle held a press conference Wednesday afternoon to announce charges against three South Florida police officers.

The officers were charged with first-degree misdemeanor battery in three separate incidents.

Fernandez Rundle said body cameras were instrumental in two of these cases.

In the first case, body-worn camera footage shows Miami Gardens police officer Javier Castano appearing to kick a suspect in the head while the suspect was fully subdued on the ground. The video also shows the officer putting a knee to the suspect's neck, causing injury to the man.

Castano was relieved of duty after the fact and is being charged with two counts of misdemeanor battery.

The second case involves Opa-locka Police Capt. Sergio Perez, accused of shooting a fellow officer with a Taser during a shouting match.

Fernandez Rundle said Perez asked his fellow officer if he wanted to be Taser certified. The fellow officer said no.

She said this was not a training exercise.

In 2013, Perez was fired after being accused of taking part in a wrong-way chase on Interstate 95 that ended in a crash that killed four tourists from California.

Two years later he was fired. Perez was reinstated in November 2015 after an arbitrator ruled the city's probe was flawed, but the city fired him again when he returned to work.

The third case involves Miami-Dade police officer Joseph Diaz, as he stopped a shirtless man who was allegedly shouting while he was at a parking lot.

The man told officer Diaz that his home was within walking distance, then the shirtless man walks away. As he is walking away, the shirtless man is heard calling the officer a derogatory name. That is when officer Diaz calls him back and takes him into custody. Diaz is caught on video telling the shirtless man to get on the ground.

Officer Diaz is charged with felony official misconduct for allegedly lying on the arrest report as to what the shirtless man was doing. He also faces a misdemeanor charge.

"As law enforcement officers we are sworn to support, protect and defend the Constitution. It is disheartening when a police officer violates their Oath of Office, this act is without dispute unacceptable. Our Internal Affairs Section initiated a thorough investigation into this matter and worked diligently alongside the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office. The trust that our community instills on the men and women of the Miami-Dade Police Department will not be taken for granted, it is our duty to protect this great responsibility," said Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredo "Freddy" Ramirez in a statement.

Fernandez Rundle said body-worn cameras have been an incredible tool for everybody.

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