A Miami police officer who was caught on video violently arresting a black woman after she called the cops for help has been charged with official misconduct, the State Attorney’s Office confirmed to The Daily Beast on Friday.
Officer Alejandro Giraldo turned himself in Friday morning and has been charged with one felony count of third-degree official misconduct and one misdemeanor count of first-degree battery. A video that went viral showed Giraldo pushing 26-year-old Dyma Loving against a metal fence and putting her in a headlock before forcing her to the ground.
Loving, a mother-of-three, said she called the police on March 5 after getting into a verbal altercation with a white neighbor who allegedly threatened her and a friend with a rifle. But instead of getting the help she needed, Loving said she was physically assaulted by Giraldo and three other officers after asking “to make contact with her children”—an incident that sparked a community outcry.
“I’m happy that officer Giraldo has been charged, but it does seem like it’s a slap on the wrist,” Loving told The Daily Beast on Friday. “And what about the other officers who were there? They should be held accountable for what they did to me too.”
The charges come less than a month after Loving filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit against the Miami-Dade Police Department, Giraldo, and another officer she says deprived her of her civil rights and wrongfully arrested her.
On March 5, the 26-year-old and a friend, Adrianna Green, were walking by the home of a white neighbor, Frank Tumm, when he allegedly began to yell racial slurs at them.
“He called us hookers, called us racial slurs, and suddenly he turned around and put a shotgun in our faces,” Loving previously told The Daily Beast. “He told me he was going to shoot my burnt black ass face off my neck.”
Loving said they immediately called the police, and were shocked when authorities began to hurl questions at them instead of Tumm. In the video, Giraldo can be heard telling Loving she “need[s] to chill out or you will be arrested” before suddenly “grabbing her by the neck, obstructing her breathing, whipping her by the neck and arms to the hard pavement, and drilling their bodies into her back while she was lying on the pavement,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit alleges Loving was racially profiled, physically attacked, and falsely imprisoned for over 15 hours in jail during the incident.
Loving was initially charged with two misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, but those charges were dropped five days after the incident, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office confirmed to The Daily Beast.
Giraldo was “relieved of his duty and his role as a training officer” with pay and has been on an administrative assignment pending the police department’s investigation.
Justin Moore, Loving’s attorney, said Friday that while they “applaud the State Attorney’s Office for seeking formal charges for Officer Alejandro Giraldo, the lead perpetrator of the crimes committed against Dyma Loving,” the other officer named in their lawsuit still remains on the police force.
“At the moment, the officer is still employed at the department, so we haven’t seen whether or not this generated change at the department,” he told The Daily Beast on Friday. “Our fear is that the department will rally behind this officer and will attempt to provide justification of these officers’ actions by allowing them to remain employed.”
The Miami Police Department declined The Daily Beast’s request for comment, saying they will release a statement shortly when they have “gathered all the facts.” The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office confirmed Giraldo’s bond was set at $5,000.