A South Florida police officer is now under investigation after he was caught on camera on May 8 allegedly kicking the legs out from under a 13-year-old boy who was already in handcuffs.
Two cellphone cameras captured a disturbing sight as an officer kicked 13-year-old Kevens Jean Baptiste’s legs, forcing him to the ground.
The conversation between the young boy and police officers could not be heard, but it was clear that the officer had forced Baptiste off his feet.
After the officer allegedly kicked Baptiste’s legs, students on a bus can be heard screaming, “They can’t do that!” before another student assures his peers that he caught the incident on camera.
According to Baptiste, he was taken off the bus and placed in handcuffs after he refused to roll up his window on the bus.
He says he explained to the bus driver that someone on board had sprayed perfume and he needed fresh air because he suffers from asthma.
“I said, ‘I don’t care. I got asthma,” and I was coughing, and my face was turning red and stuff,” he told NBCMiami. “So, I just let down my window.”
The bus driver decided that was grounds to call the police.
According to Baptiste, the officers were rude as soon as they arrived, and they ordered him not to speak.
“They said ‘don’t speak,’ when I was spoken to,” he said. “The lady spoke to me and he said, ‘Be quiet,’ and I was talking and he slammed me, simple as that.”
“You can’t treat a kid like that,” LaGuerre told the AP. “[The officer] needs to be fired, you know. The police have to serve, serve and protect.”
Stephanie Slater, the spokeswoman for Boynton Beach police, confirmed that the department is looking into the matter and that the officer has been placed on administrative duty.
“We are committed to reviewing the situation in its entirety and taking whatever action is deemed most appropriate at the conclusion of our investigation,” Slater said.
While sweeping a suspect’s legs to force him or her to sit down is not an uncommon tactic used by police, it is alarming to see this action taken toward a young boy who was already in handcuffs.
It is also important to note that when this tactic is usually used, the officer holds the suspect by his arms to guide him down the ground slowly after kicking his feet out from under him.
In this case, Baptiste seems to simply go crashing to the ground after the officer is seen making what appears to be a kicking motion toward his legs.
The cellphone video is provided below. Please note that the video contains explicit language.