EUCLID (AP) — A mayor in suburban Cleveland has added 30 more days to an unpaid suspension for a white police officer who was recorded on a cellphone repeatedly punching a black man and hitting his head on pavement after a traffic stop last month.
Euclid Mayor Kristen Gail announced the added suspension for patrol officer Michael Amiott on Friday. The Euclid police chief previously suspended Amiott for 15 days for the Aug. 12 encounter and added a number of conditions before Amiott would be allowed to return to patrol duties.
Gail said she would be reviewing Amiott’s prior conduct to determine his “suitability to return to employment.”
A video of the arrest viewed more than 7 million times on Facebook has sparked outrage. It shows Amiott punching 25-year-old Richard Hubbard III more than a dozen times and hitting his head on pavement several times after stopping him for a suspected suspended license.
Amiott claimed the struggle occurred when Hubbard refused orders to “face away” and then resisted. A dash cam video released in a public records request shows Amiott almost immediately wrestling Hubbard to the ground after stepping out of the car.
The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office has said it’s investigating the arrest and has conferred with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cleveland.
The police union that represents Amiott has said people shouldn’t rush to judgment because officers often face split-second decisions before taking action. A call to Amiott’s publicly listed telephone number Saturday said he wasn’t available.
Hubbard pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and driving with a suspended license. His attorney has asked a Euclid Municipal Court judge to dismiss the charges.
Amiott’s Euclid personnel file shows that he’s received four letters of reprimand and one formal citizen complaint but had never previously had faced formal discipline. He was cited for pistol-whipping a driver with a handgun, mishandling evidence, losing his temper in front of his commanding officer and twice crashing a cruiser.
He was allowed to resign instead of being fired in April 2014 from the Mentor Police Department outside Cleveland after lying to fellow officers about why he stopped a car for a suspended license. He was hired five months later in Euclid. A department spokesman has said the now-retired Euclid chief knew why Amiott resigned from Mentor.