A Miami police officer is under investigation by a citizen's review panel after he allegedly kicked a teenage suspect in the head, WTVJ-TV reported.
According to the report, a woman called 911 and said she was being robbed at gunpoint. After police caught up to the female suspect in Miami Shores, she tried to run away from them.
The TV station obtained body camera footage that shows one of the officers appearing to kick the suspect twice in the head after she was tackled to the ground.
The Miami Police Department determined Officer John Askew was “negligent in his duty,” but did not use excessive force. However, the Miami Police Citizens Review Panel, a civilian investigative group, believes that excessive force was used.
The footage shows the teen being taken away after she was kicked. She reportedly told police she was a passenger and didn’t know anything about a robbery. Officials charged her with armed robbery and grand theft.
Askew told investigators that he feared the teen had a weapon based on information given during the initial 911 call. The teenager also appeared to have something in her hand. Internal affairs reports said that it was in fact a flip-flop sandal, according to the TV station.
Documents obtained by the TV station show that the review panel “does not believe Askew’s actions were either reasonable or necessary.”
Both the police department and the review panel agreed that Askew failed to follow protocol for allegedly failing to report that he kicked the teen. He defended himself by saying his actions weren't meant to be malicious, and she didn’t appear to be injured nor complaining at the time.
Due to her age, it is not known how prosecutors handled the teen’s case, according to the report.
The full civilian panel will meet later this month. If it ratifies its initial findings, the police chief will be asked to re-examine what happened. The officer could then possibly face disciplinary action, the report stated.