Khalid Vaughn, 28, was in the lobby of a Miami Beach hotel when four local cops came to arrest Dalonta Crudup. The officers alleged that Crudup, 24, was recklessly riding his scooter and struck a bicycle patrol officer. However, after the cops restrained Crudup, they set their sights on Vaughn, who captured the whole episode on his cellphone.
“I started recording it,” Vaughn told WPLG after he left jail on Monday. “They already got [Dalonta] in handcuffs. They beat him, turned around, charged me down, beat me. Punched me, elbowed me in the face.”
The officers report that Crudup had illegally parked his scooter outside the Royal Palm Hotel earlier that day and sped away when a patrolman approached him, which is when they say Crudup hit the officer in question with the scooter. He reportedly almost struck another cop with the scooter before he abandoned it outside the hotel and ran inside.
However, according to the police report, Vaughn was not only recording the incident but meddling with the officers’ attempt to apprehend his friend. One cop delivered “multiple right elbow strikes to Mr. Vaughn’s facial area” while another threw “approximately four right closed fist strikes” to Vaughn’s face, it says.
“During the struggle to place Mr. Vaughn into custody, Mr. Vaughn and officers fell to the ground,” Vaughn’s arrest report continues. “Once on the ground, officers are finally able to take control of Mr. Vaughn and forcefully pull his hands behind his back.”
The officers’ higher-ups were not pleased with Vaughn’s recording, though, and suspended the four cops soon afterwards. “I have serious concerns about the force utilized after Mr. Crudup was in custody,” said Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Clements in a statement, “including the level of force utilized in the subsequent arrest of Mr. Vaughn. This is not indicative of the hard-working men and women of the Miami Beach Police Department and will not be tolerated.”
“Excessive force can never be an acceptable foundation for the policing of any community,” stated Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, and she said senior staff has been appointed to look further into the matter.
Although the cops initially charged Vaughn with resisting arrest, Clements later requested that the state attorney’s office label the charges “no action,” but the officers will continue to receive their pay until the investigation is complete.