MIAMI—The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on Oct. 23 dismissed a case against Miami-Dade County and two of its police officers after body camera footage showed the officers assaulting a man during an arrest.
U.S. Magistrate Judge John J. O'Sullivan ruled on the case.
Ephraim Casado accused the county and Detectives Oliver Mayorga and William Baskins of false arrest, malicious prosecution, negligent hiring or retention, negligent failure to train and supervise, false arrest/false imprisonment claim deprivation, deprivation of civil rights by excessive use of force, excessive force claim, battery, internal infliction of emotional distress, civil conspiracy and gross negligence.
The district court explained granted the defendants’ motions and dismissed the cases against both the county and the detectives. It said Casado’s allegations of negligent hiring or retention, negligent failure to train and supervise, and deprivation of civil rights by excessive use of force don’t satisfy legal requirements: Casado “fails to identify an official policy, not simply allege that one exists; fails to allege an unofficial policy or custom of violating constitutional rights, fails to allege any other incidents of unconstitutional conduct and thus, fails to plead sufficient facts to state a claim for violation of civil rights.”
Magistrate Judge John O'Sullivan Twitter
The court added that the lawsuit did not include factual allegations of previous similar events that the County actually knew about but did nothing to resolve. It also said negligent hiring or retention isn’t covered under Section 1983 as it dismissed those three counts without prejudice.
The court also dismissed all remaining counts against the county. Even though the State of Florida determined the detectives weren’t completely truthful about their charges against Casado, the court reiterated that a government agency or organization can’t be held responsible for its employees’ actions, even if they were “malicious, in bad faith, or showed reckless and wanton disregard for human rights, safety, or property.”
The incident between Casado and the detectives began after they saw Casado throw bottles out of his car. They pulled him over, and according to the court opinion, Casado followed their orders and got out of his car with his hands up. Detective Baskins slammed Casado on the hood of his car and punched him in the face. "What are you going to do about it?” Basking asked after Casado asked for Baskins’s badge number and why he was being assaulted. The detectives went on to charge Casado with several offenses that were dismissed.