A Detroit-Area Officer Who Punched Jaquwan Smith After an Arrest Pleads Guilty


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By Associated Press

Matthew Rodriguez acknowledged using “unreasonable force” against the 19-year-old while processing him in the fingerprint room at the Warren jail in June.

Footage from video captured now-former Warren Police officer Matthew Rodriguez (right) punching Jaquwan Smith (left), a man under arrest, in the city jail’s fingerprinting area, then slamming his head against the floor and pushing him into a cell. (Photo: Screenshot/YouTube.com/Detroit Free Press)

WARREN, Mich. (AP) — A suburban Detroit police officer who punched a young Black man in the face and slammed his head to the ground pleaded guilty Monday to a federal civil rights violation.

Matthew Rodriguez acknowledged using “unreasonable force” against the 19-year-old man while processing him in the fingerprint room at the Warren jail in June. He also admitted that he made false statements about the incident.

Jaquwan Smith “was not physically resisting arrest or attempting to escape,” Rodriguez’ plea agreement states.

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Learn how we can work to achieve racial repair and reconciliation.

Read about Louisville police using excessive force on a Black man and a Black man, wrongfully imprisoned for 16 years, who was then shot and killed by police in a traffic stop.

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