Then, Sgt. Jose Perez allegedly kicked Crudup three more times — including at least twice in the head — while the 24-year-old suspect remained handcuffed.
The Perezes, who aren’t related, are two of five Miami Beach police officers who were arrested Monday and charged with misdemeanor assault for allegedly attacking Crudup and a man who filmed Crudup’s arrest. The other officers charged are Robert Sabater, David Rivas and Steven Serrano.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle announced their arrests at a Monday news conference, a week after Crudup’s July 26 arrest inside the Royal Palm South Beach Miami hotel. She said her office is still investigating and may file more charges.
“We’re all really horrified by it,” Fernandez Rundle said Monday. “When we saw that kick to the head, and then we replayed it and we saw all the kicks that preceded it — it was just unfathomable. It was unspeakable. It was just inexcusable.
“And I’m not alone in that feeling. I watched [Miami Beach Police] Chief [Richard Clements] watch that video, and his head just went right down on the desk.”
The officers claimed they had been trying to stop Crudup after he illegally parked and then struck an officer while fleeing the scene on a blue scooter. Crudup told WPLG he was riding a scooter but never hit an officer.
Regardless, police chased him into the Royal Palm, which is where the hotel surveillance footage, officer body cameras and bystander cellphone video captured his arrest.
The footage, which Fernandez Rundle walked reporters through on Monday, shows Crudup darting into an elevator. But before the doors close, a police lieutenant points a gun at him and forces him to exit, starting the chain of events that led to the two officers allegedly kicking Crudup a total of seven times.
Bystander Khalid Vaughn, 28, who had been filming Crudup’s arrest backed away as an officer approached him, Fernandez Rundle said. Still, Sabater allegedly charged and tackled Vaughn as he retreated. Officers pursued Vaughn, eventually pinning him into a corner. That’s where officers Rivas and Serrano punched him repeatedly, the state attorney said.
“I literally got jumped by officers,” Vaughn told WPLG. “They really don’t care.”
In an incident report obtained by WPLG, police reported that Vaughn “began to impede, provoke and harass officers,” but at Monday’s news conference, Fernandez Rundle said she believes he was within his rights to film the officers.
The charges against Vaughn have been dropped, court records show. Crudup is charged with four felonies, including assaulting a law enforcement officer.
Clements, the police chief, said he was “disheartened” by his officers’ behavior.
“We will grow from this and we will do better,” he said at the news conference. “We’re going to make sure we do all that we can to make ensure that it does not happen again.”
Fernandez Rundle said Crudup’s arrest shows the importance of police changes, like those required by legislation that Florida lawmakers recently passed unanimously and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law.
The new law, which took effect on July 1, requires police departments to have a use-of-force policy, teach de-escalation, and tell officers they have both a “duty to intervene” if they see another officer using excessive force and a duty to provide medical care if a suspect is hurt when force is used.
Fernandez Rundle noted some bright spots in the Miami Beach case: Someone in the chief’s command staff recognized potential wrongdoing and reported it to their superiors. In turn, the chief kicked it up to the prosecutors’ office.
Fernandez Rundle said that when she watched the footage of Crudup’s arrest, she saw one or two officers pull their peers back from the scrum, but they were a minority.
“There was so much … that could have been done by the others that were watching that wasn’t done,” she said.