A Homestead police officer faces criminal charges after surveillance video shows him pushing a handcuffed suspect into a concrete wall, causing him a bloody facial injury. Officer Lester Brown was arrested last Wednesday on felony battery and official misconduct charges after a recording shows the officer manhandling handcuffed suspect Jose Garcia while booking him in December 2018.
At the time, Garcia was taken into custody and charged with disorderly intoxication and resisting arrest without violence after Homestead police received a call about a drunk causing a disturbance. When the police and the suspect arrived at the Homestead Police Department station, Brown escorted Garcia to the booking room, which is where he was pushed to the wall by Brown, according to the incident report.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle accused Brown of misrepresenting what happened when Garcia was booked.
Brown allegedly lied about pushing Garcia, describing the inmate as combative and alleging Garcia went to attack him, which prompted the forceful push to wall. However, the video shows Garcia in a calm demeanor, handcuffed with his hands behind his back throughout the booking process.
“Officer Brown’s actions were not only improper but they were crimes,” Fernandez Rundle said. “Our investigation of this incident and our review of the police surveillance video contradicts – in our view – it contradicts the official representation by Officer Brown of allegedly the facts of what happened that night,” she said.
The arrest of Brown is disappointing for the Homestead Police Department said, Chief Al Rolle.
“Homestead is a small department, a small community, but we are not going to tolerate this kind of behavior from one of our police officers. We never have, and we never will, Rolle said.
Fernandez Rundle said that these types of incidents prevent the community from trusting the police and coming forward with information and tips.
“This sets us all back,” she said.
Brown was jailed on Aug. 7 and released after posting a $10,000 bond. He was relieved of duty without pay and faces possible termination.
Brown’s defense attorney describes the arrest as a “political” vendetta, the Associated Press reports.