Sen. Shevrin Jones, a West Park Democrat, is calling out correctional officers after a leaked video showed them using physical force and bloodying a prisoner named Michael Hernandez.
The Miami Herald obtained footage of the incident, which occurred in Oct. 2020. Officials say that Hernandez, while being held in Miami-Dade County, attacked officers the night of Oct. 25. Hernandez was then transferred to Charlotte Correctional Institution, where officers there began getting physical after removing him from the transfer van.
“By the time he is finished with his transfer to Charlotte Correctional Institution 10 minutes later, Hernandez will be bleeding from fresh wounds on his head, barely able to stand or walk,” the Herald’s Ben Conarck explains.
“The prisoner had run into what officers call ‘the welcoming committee.’ He’d been punched repeatedly, slammed onto the pavement, and gang-tackled into the corner of a cell, leaving a smear of blood on the wall, all while defenseless — restrained in leg shackles and handcuffs, including a ‘black box’ device securing his wrists to his midsection.”
The Herald had fought to obtain footage of the incident over protests from the Florida Department of Corrections, which had reviewed the video and said the officers committed no violations in their handling of Hernandez.
That’s hard to believe, Jones argued.
“The fact that the Department of Corrections found no policy violations or criminal acts in this video, which is rife with needless beating, hitting, kicking, and striking of a human being, is appalling,” Jones said in a Friday morning statement.
“Violent assault on inmates is the most common type of abuse committed by correctional officers, and the officers’ unnecessary and excessive use of force upon a defenseless person in this video is horrifyingly a typical example. These attacks can cause lacerations, broken bones, internal injuries and bleeding, disfigurement, brain or spinal cord damage, and even death. It is long past time for accountability both in and out of our criminal justice system.”
Officers began getting physical with Hernandez after the prisoner fell while being escorted into Charlotte Correctional Institution. The Herald spoke to “correctional officers and use-of-force experts” who believe officers tripped Hernandez by stepping on his shackles, causing him to hit the pavement. But even if Hernandez fell on his own, it’s unclear why multiple officers jumped onto Hernandez while he lay on the ground.
Officers again piled onto Hernandez inside a cell, where footage shows Hernandez blood staining the wall.
The officers repeatedly yelled out to Hernandez to stop resisting, though it’s difficult to see what Hernandez is doing behind the wall of officers during the recording. The Herald also found inconsistencies between the reports filed by officers following the incident and the video leaked to the outlet. Rep. Anna Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat, was quoted in the Herald as well, questioning officers’ response.
“I don’t understand why a man clearly in chains is such a risk that he needs to face severe physical force, including punches from trained law enforcement,” Eskamani said. “People treat animals better than this.”
May 29, 2021 at 1:58 pm
Pigs will be pigs. He should have been deported long ago not have taxpayers footing the bill. Send him back to his third world he’ll hole.
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