Video appears to show Florida sergeant slapping handcuffed teen, officer attempting to hide evidence

Surveillance video of a March 2018 arrest appeared to show a Florida sergeant slapping a handcuffed teen. (Miami-Dade Sheriff's Department)
Surveillance video of a March 2018 arrest appeared to show a Florida sergeant slapping a handcuffed teen. (Miami-Dade Sheriff's Department)

MIAMI – Two Miami-Dade police officers were charged Tuesday after surveillance video of a March 2018 arrest appeared to show a sergeant slapping a handcuffed teen in the face. The second officer is accused of trying to hide the video evidence.

Sergeant Manuel Regueiro was charged Tuesday with misdemeanor battery, prosecutors said. Officer Alex Gonzalez was charged with felony evidence tampering and misdemeanor petty theft.

The teen, Bryan Crespo, then 18, was being investigated over allegations that he was dealing in stolen airbags. Officers said they went to Crespo's home on the night of March 15, 2018 with a warrant for his arrest.

A surveillance system in Crespo's living room was recording when detectives raided his apartment and placed him under arrest. The video shows Crespo, shirtless and handcuffed, being led away when an officer identified as Regueiro is seen slapping him in the face.

After Crespo told officers on the scene that the slap had been recorded on video, they re-entered the apartment and disconnected the recording system's power source, according to internal-affairs investigators.

Additional footage that was recovered from a home next door appears to show Officer Gonzalez taking a rectangular object wrapped in a pillowcase from the home. Investigators believe the object was the recording system's power pack, which Gonzalez mistakenly believed to be the system itself.

Watch the video above.

An arrest warrant obtained by the Miami Herald said that Crespo's mother found that the cables connecting the power supply to the recording system had been cut.

Crespo told internal-affairs investigators that when he was hit, he heard someone say, "This is for the airbags you stole, you p***y," according to the warrant.

Rugiero was mailed a court date for his misdemeanor charge, the Miami Herald reported. Gonzalez surrendered and spent a few hours in jail before posting a $6,000 bond.

"When communities don't trust police, or people are afraid of the police, that's when police cooperation dries up. And people don't want to come forward with information," said Florida State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.

Crespo awaits trial for the alleged airbag thefts. His attorneys told the Miami Herald they plan on filing a lawsuit against Regeuiro.

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