Broward News

Prosecutor: Video Shows Hollywood Cop Hit Suspect, Fabricated Excuse

Hollywood Police officer Matthew Barbieri is facing a battery charge after home-security video footage showed him slapping a handcuffed suspect, Broward State Attorney Mike Satz announced Friday.

Prosecutors filed the first-degree misdemeanor charge against Barbieri, 34, Thursday for the August 6, 2019, incident. The charge carries a maximum punishment of up to one year in jail.

According to court documents, Barbieri and another officer were called to a domestic disturbance in Hollywood and arrived at 10:23 p.m. A parent of the victim told police the son, who lives in an efficiency apartment at the rear of the residence, was on heroin and acting erratically. Surveillance footage from a camera in the small apartment showed much of the interaction between the two officers and the victim, court records show.

When Barbieri enters the camera's view, the two officers encounter the son, naked, squatting in the bathroom. Barbieri said in a court affidavit the nude man appeared to be "under the influence of a controlled substance," confirming what the man's parent reported. Both officers approach the man, and Barbieri grabs him with both hands and leads him out of the bathroom, where he is handcuffed.

In the video, the man can be heard admitting to trying to get rid of evidence, the charging document shows.

After rooting around and coming up with a pair of shorts for the man to wear, Barbieri returns to the bathroom. The man says, "Wait a minute, wait a minute — nobody gave you permission to search the house. There's no warrant, no nothing. There's no permission."

The other officer tells the man to "shut the fuck up."

The man replies, "What do you mean shut the fuck up? No permission, bro."

Barbieri suddenly exits the bathroom, and out of view of the camera, where the other officer is reportedly holding the suspect, the man hollers, "Ow!" before Barbieri and the man come back into view. Then video footage picks up Barbieri striking the man twice while saying, "How about now? How about now? Do I have permission now?" and then grabbing the suspect by the throat.

The man, who reportedly suffered a minor laceration on his forehead but was not otherwise injured, was taken into custody and charged with heroin possession.

A third officer arrives at the scene, and a short time later, in view of the camera, Barbieri tells him: "I'm going to have to say he was kicking."

An initial court appearance for Barbieri, who is not in custody, is scheduled for October 21 in Broward County.
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Veteran journalist Teri Berg is an award-winning writer and editor. A native Ohioan, she's celebrating a decade in South Florida.