MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade Police have launched an internal investigation after a suspect who was already in handcuffs was struck in the face by an officer.
The incident took place in Southwest Miami-Dade and was caught on camera.
The cell phone video, shot from across the street, shows 26-year-old Jacksonville Gaston being arrested by several Miami-Dade police officers when one officer grabs Gaston by the throat and strikes him in the face with his open hand.
Goeffrey Nichols' daughter shot the video from her house.
"The cop lost his cool," Nichols said.
He watched as police stopped Gaston, who was driving a car with a female passenger partially hanging out of an open door.
The couple was apparently arguing and Gaston, who got out of the car, would not cooperate with police.
"The guy was really being unruly he never complied," Nichols said.
Police say Gaston kicked and tried to punch the officers, adding that he even spat on the officer who struck him.
In a statement, police director Juan Perez said the incident is under internal investigation to ensure the officers' actions were in accordance with established police procedures and consistent with the department's deeply held core values of integrity, respect, service and fairness.
For his part, Nichols thinks police went too far.
"To me it was a bit excessive," he said. "That police stooped to that level of the guy, he should be higher. He's a law enforcement officer, he stooped right to the level of the kid behaving badly."
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