2 officers charged after video shows one slapping handcuffed teen

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By Minyvonne Burke

Two officers with the Miami-Dade Police Department were charged Tuesday after one of them was seen on video appearing to hit a handcuffed teenager in the head during an arrest last year.

In the video, Sgt. Manuel Regueiro is seen smacking Bryan Crespo, who was 18, in the face as he is led through the living room of his home by another officer. The incident, captured on surveillance video inside Crespo’s home, happened in March 2018 when officers went there to serve an arrest warrant for Crespo and two others for allegedly stealing air bags from cars.

Police took Crespo outside, and he told them that his home’s surveillance camera would have captured the officer hitting him.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon that Officer Alexander Gonzalez, Sgt. Regueiro and two other officers then went back into the home and began searching two bedrooms.

Gonzalez allegedly cut the wires to a surveillance system and then removed what he thought was a DVR recorder that contained video of the incident, Rundle said. Footage from a neighboring home showed Gonzalez leave Crespo’s house carrying the device and placing it in the trunk of his car.

Rundle said officers did not have a warrant to search or remove items from Crespo’s home, and the device Gonzalez allegedly took was never documented. Authorities were alerted that an item was missing from the home when Crespo’s mother contacted police.

“This behavior is unacceptable,” Rundle said.

Regueiro was charged with misdemeanor battery and Tuesday afternoon was ordered to surrender, authorities said.

Gonzalez was charged with felony tampering with evidence and turned himself in to police Tuesday morning. He has since been released on bond.

Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez said at the press conference that Regueiro, Gonzalez, and two other officers present during Crespo’s arrest have been relieved of their duties, but remain on the police force.

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