In a disturbing revelation that questions the sanity of those entrusted with upholding the law, a Warren police officer, identified as Matthew James Rodriguez, was caught on camera brutally assaulting an inmate within the precinct walls. The brutal beatdown, which is far removed from any semblance of due process or justice, unfolded on June 13th, and the details were shared with the public during a press conference this week.
The victim was no angel and had been charged with carjacking and weapons charges. He deserved his day in court and potentially jail time—but now stands to receive a taxpayer-funded payday because of one rogue officer’s inability to control his rage.
The event, caught on camera, took place at the Warren Police Department jail, revealing how the officer in question, the 48-year-old veteran cop who had been with the department since 2008, flagrantly violated his oath of duty. The footage shows Rodriguez, who was responsible for booking the 19-year-old Detroit man, not just punching the suspect but also throwing him onto the ground and ruthlessly slamming his head against the floor. The assault is so stomach-turning that Warren Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer released a statement noting that “this is not who we are.”
The video ends with Rodriguez manhandling the man into a cell and slamming the door behind him, emphasizing Dwyer’s admission that the actions of this officer were “not consistent with our training, our policy, or standards or professionalism we hold ourselves to.”
But let’s not forget the part that irks taxpayers the most—the fact that this officer’s rage-fueled, unlawful actions could translate into a significant financial blow to the city, which will likely be footing the bill for a lawsuit.
The silver lining here is that Rodriguez was reported by his fellow officers, who deemed his actions out of line. After being charged with assault, battery, and willful neglect of duty, and being slapped with a $5,000 personal bond, he was put on unpaid leave. The wheels of justice may finally be in motion for Rodriguez, but it does little to ease the pain of knowing that he was capable of such violence while under the city’s employment. As the city braces for an employment hearing that will decide Rodriguez’s future with the department, taxpayers are left grappling with the notion that they might have to foot the bill for the consequences of his actions.
Despite the severity of his crimes, the 19-year-old inmate, now the victim of police brutality, didn’t ask for medical attention. Nevertheless, Dwyer ordered him to be taken to the hospital for evaluation, where he was later cleared and returned to his cell. He was subsequently arraigned on felony charges, given bond, and transferred to the Macomb County Jail.
While it’s a relief to see that fellow officers did the right thing by reporting Rodriguez’s actions, it’s deeply disturbing to know that such a heinous act of violence was perpetrated within the walls of a police department. As Dwyer aptly put it, the actions of this one officer not only tarnish the reputation of the force but also symbolize a “black eye to every man and woman that is wearing the blue uniform, serving the public 24/7.”
This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.