MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A man who appears to be punched by a City of Miami Police officer after being handcuffed and placed in the back of a police car is speaking about what took place Thursday.
“I got surprised and sucker punched,” said Tony Zaldivar. “I was surprised. I felt, I felt horrible being sucker punched while I was in handcuffed, couldn’t defend myself or nothing.”
According to the police report, Officer John Hinson observed Zaldivar loitering in the area of NW 12th Ave and 62nd Terrace.
The six-year-veteran claimed Zaldivar began cursing and yelling. After Zaldivar reportedly refused to stop, he was placed in the back of a police cruiser.
But Zaldivar, who said he’s a volunteer soccer coach and was “hanging out” in the area, said he has no idea why he was being arrested.
“I felt it was wrong that I was under arrest. I asked what I was under arrest for and I never got told what I was under arrest for,” he said.
“When he (Zaldivar) gets to the station, he is actually PTA’d – promise to appear). So he’s never actually booked into the jail – just to show you the severity of what the underlying charge is,” said Zaldivar’s attorney, David Kubiliun.
The cell phone video was posted on social media. Within hours of being made aware of the footage, the City of Miami Police Department suspended Officer Hinson without pay while internal affairs investigates.
“One of the things we want to do is make sure we do the most thorough job possible so that there’s a fair process for everyone. The officer deserves his due process, as does the citizen,” said Miami Police Maj. Delrish Moss.
Zaldivar said he wants the officer to be held accountable.
“Thank God the footage was there because it speaks for itself. If the footage wasn’t there it would have been his word against my word,” said Zaldivar.