Miami-Dade District Attorney Announces Charges Against 3 Police Officers Following FDLE Investigation

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Florida. – Three officers from different police departments will be charged in three counts after investigations by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement uncovered wrongdoing, prosecutor Katherine Fernandez Rundle announced Wednesday afternoon.

Fernandez Rundle identified the officers as Jaiver Castano, formerly of the Miami Gardens Police Department; Former Opa-locka Police Officer Sergio Perez and Miami-Dade Officer Joseph Diaz.

“Two of those cases have video from police body-worn cameras,” Fernandez Rundle said.

Castano and Perez face battery charges for misdemeanor. Diaz faces misconduct and battery charges.

The officer kicks the handcuffed man in the head and presses his knee on his neck

A former Miami Gardens officer faces a battery charge after kicking a man in the head and pressing his knee on his neck, prosecutors said Wednesday. (MDSAO)

Castano was among a group of Miami Gardens police officers who responded to a complaint about a driver making donuts in the parking lot of the RaceTrac gas station at 19100 NW 2nd Ave in March 2020.

Video shows Castano kicked Miguel McKay, the suspect’s boyfriend, in the face and put his knee on his neck, Fernandez Rundle said.

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Miami Gardens Police Chief Delma Noel-Pratt announced in June 2020 that she had decided to fire two officers under investigation by the FDLE. One was Castano and the other was an officer accused of failing to download his bodycam footage, which is required after each shift, police said.

Officer lies on affidavit, prosecutors say

A Miami-Dade police officer faces misconduct charges after allegedly lying in a signed affidavit. (MDSAO)

On July 25, 2020, Diaz responded to a report of a drunk man loitering. He later identified him as Kenny Ortega. The video shows that the two had a polite conversation and just as Ortega walked away, he insulted Diaz.

“Tell me what you just said to my face,” Diaz said.

Diaz ordered Ortega to put his hands behind his back and get on the floor. Fernandez Rundle said Diaz grabbed Ortega by the shoulder and pushed and shoved him during the arrest.

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“Officer Diaz signs and then files an affidavit charging Ortega with disorderly intoxication and nonviolently resisting a police officer…Many of the affidavits are false,” Fernandez Rundle said.

Diaz falsely claimed that Ortega was overly aggressive, yelled at the top of his voice, stumbled into the street and took an aggressive stance, Fernandez Rundle said.

Official injures colleagues, prosecutors say

A Opa Locka cop is at risk of a battery charge after being accused of tasering his colleague. (MDSAO)

Fernandez Rundle said Capt. Perez had Sgt. Michael Steel in the rear right guard in September 2021. Steel was in his office not wearing a hazmat suit so was visibly injured.

“This incident did not occur during a Tasing certification training session. It has nothing to do with anything happening during training,” said Fernandez Rundle.

midday report

Three police officers face three counts, according to investigations by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

This is an evolving story. Allison Cubillos, Editor of the Local 10 News Assignment Desk, contributed to this report.

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