HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – The Hallandale Police Department suspended two officers without pay Thursday, while the department investigates their actions after a video showed them striking a suspect with batons.
The department identified the officers as Jaime Cerna, who has been with the department for 11 years, and Richard Allen, who has been with the department for 35 years. Authorities identified the man they arrested Wednesday afternoon as Daniel James Dunkelberger.
A man said he witnessed the arrest at Max’s Car Wash at 903 W. Hallandale Beach Blvd., east of Interstate 95.
“The first guy started with the handcuffs, hitting him in the back of the head,” the alleged witness said. “When he started screaming, they got the cuff on him. But as he got the cuffs on, the other guy is taking him and shooting him with the Taser, punching him around the car.”
Another witness who shared the video of the arrest on Twitter said the suspect is “known around the area to be a mentally challenged individual.”
He claimed the officers “beat this man up, busted his head open, led him to bleed heavily.”
The video shows the officers striking Dunkelberger in the legs with their batons as they yelled at him to get on the ground.
Dunkelberger screamed and cursed at the officers before he was pushed to the ground.
One of the officers continued hitting the suspect as he was on the ground, leading witnesses to ask the officer to stop hitting the man.
“Everybody started screaming, ‘Hey! Hey! Hey! What is going on? You don’t have to do that. He is already restrained.’ And the guy is not forcing back, not fighting back or nothing. He is just saying, ‘What are you guys doing? I am going to get on the ground,'” one witness said.
According to an arrest report, a man saw Dunkelberger reach into his car and steal a cellphone and charger. Police arrived moments later and said they stunned him with a Taser as he tried to run away.
“We are aware of the video that was released to the media today,” the Hallandale Beach Police Department posted on Twitter Thursday. “We ask the public and media to remain patient while we conduct a thorough and objective internal affairs investigation. We also would like the opportunity to obtain all video surveillance from the area.”
Dunkelberger faces charges of burglary and resisting an officer without violence.
Police brutality in broad daylight on Hallandale Beach Blvd. Police heavily beat this man up busted his head open led him to bleed heavily. The man is known around the area to be a mentally challenged indiavidual. @wsvn @CBSMiami @WPLGLocal10 @SunSentinel pic.twitter.com/U2vENYGfHM
— 1 (@05302018a) May 31, 2018