A suburban Detroit police officer who punched a black teenager in the face and smashed his head into the ground was charged Monday with a federal civil rights offense.
A criminal complaint against Matthew Rodriguez was unsealed in federal court ahead of an evening press conference by US Attorney Dawn Ison.
Jaquwan Smith, 19, was being processed at the Warren Police Station on June 13 after being arrested on a warrant for multiple felonies.
The video shows Rodriguez arguing with Smith before the officer punched him, knocked him to the ground and smashed his head into the ground.
Other Warren police officers immediately intervened and reported the incident to their superiors.
Smith had previously been searched for weapons, indicating he posed no threat to the officer's safety, according to a court filing.
"The victim was not in an aggressive stance and had her hands at her sides with her thumbs in her pants," FBI agent Brent Nida said in a court filing.
Rodriguez was fired June 23 and charged separately with two misdemeanor charges in state court.
His defense lawyer, Elias Muawad, has not commented at this time.
“This is not what we do. This is not who we are,” William Dwyer, the police chief in Warren, stressed during a press conference on June 20, when the video was shown.