Man charged for covering head during police beating

The Raw Story | November 25th, 2010
By Daniel Tencer

A Miami man whose beating at the hands of police was captured on cell phone video has been charged with resisting arrest without violence, a charge his lawyer says came from nothing more than the man's attempts to cover his head from the blows.

Gilberto Matamoros, a 21-year-old youth center worker, says he was doing nothing wrong when police arrested him during a brawl in Miami's Coconut Grove neighborhood on Halloween. According to his lawyer, Ricardo Martinez-Cid, Matamoros was picked out of an unruly crowd and beaten unconscious by two Miami police officers. He had to be taken to a nearby hospital.

Cell phone footage of the incident shows a police officer hitting Matamoros five times on or near his head. Miami police launched an investigation into the two officers' actions after the video appeared on local news stations last week.

"This is being investigated at this particular time, and until that investigation is completed, we're really not going to have any comments," Police Chief Miguel Exposito said last week.

Martinez-Cid told CBS in Miami that prosecutors had initially told him that all charges against Matamoros would be dropped, but then suddenly changed their minds earlier this week. A charge of disorderly conduct was dropped, but the resisting arrest charge remained in place.

"All he tried to do is cover his head, until he passed out. They beat him until he was unconscious, and they had to take him to Jackson [Memorial Hospital]," said Martinez-Cid.

He told WPLG channel 10 that if background noise on the cell phone video were reduced, you could hear Matamoros calling for the officers to stop and saying he's not resisting arrest.

"Gilbert is a good kid, he actually mentors kids, he's worked for the police athletic league," Martinez-Cid added.

Matamoros has pleaded not guilty. Martinez-Cid told NBC in Miami that he hasn't filed a lawsuit against the police yet, but is keeping that option open. Matamoros just wants to "get his good name back," he said.

The following video was broadcast on CBS channel 4 in Miami.