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Matthew Rodriguez and Jaquwan Smith

Source: screenshot / Warren Police Department

An ex-Warren cop who is accused of attacking a young Black man during booking was indicted late last week by a Michigan grand jury. 

According to WWMT, the two-count indictment against Matthew Rodriguez was filed Thursday and will take the place of a federal criminal complaint filed in July.

Rodriguez was fired in June and charged with two misdemeanors after a video released showed Rodriguez punching and slamming 19-year-old Jaquwan Smith during booking. 

In the video, which was released by the Warren Police Department, Rodriguez can be seen in the police station processing Smith. 

After a brief exchange of words, Rodriguez punches Smith in the face and then forces the 19-year-old, who was completely stunned, against the wall. Rodriguez can then be seen picking Smith up, spinning him in the air, then slamming his unprotected body on the ground. 

Two other officers rushed into the room and instead of stopping Rodriguez, they held Smith down while Rodriguez punched Smith in his head “at least two more times” while Smith was “lying face down on the ground,” according to the complaint. 

Rodriguez didn’t stop there. While officers continued to hold Smith down, Rodriguez continued his assault by slamming Smith’s head against the ground. 

Smith had been searched for weapons and did not possess anything that was a threat to the officers, according to the FBI’s criminal complaint. The FBI also said that Smith never tried to attack Rodriguez during the incident as he kept his hands by his side during the attack.

The FBI is accusing Rodriguez of using excessive force that was not warranted under the circumstances. He was placed on administrative leave but was fired after the conclusion of an internal investigation, which led to charges by the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office. 

Rodriguez was charged with two misdemeanors; assault and battery, and willful neglect of duty.

“The conduct that is alleged here, a blatant and shocking violation of the victim’s rights, and then an effort by the former officer to lie about that, cannot be ignored or go unchecked,” U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison told WWMT.

According to ClickOnDetroit, Jaquwan Smith also filed a lawsuit against Rodriguez, the city of Warren and the two officers who held him down while Rodriguez continued his assault.

Smith’s attorney alleges that the two officers “did not intervene” when they saw Smith being attacked by Rodriguez.

Click here to read Matthew Rodriguez’s criminal complaint.


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