FOX 2 (WJBK) - A few weeks back, a video of Warren Police Officer Matthew Rodriguez led to his firing for accusations of excessive force on a suspect.
On Monday, the US Attorney and head of the FBI want to send a message with federal charges against him. On Monday, US Attorney Dawn Ison announced Rodriguez will face federal charges related to a Civil Rights violation.
Devin Kowalski, FBI Detroit acting special agent, shared his thoughts on the brutal excessive force video involving Rodriguez, the now former police officer, on a 19-year-old booked on a carjacking charge.
"It breaks my heart. It’s completely unacceptable," said Kowalski, FBI acting special agent.
The federal criminal complaint says Rodriguez punched Jaquwan Smith in his head more than once, grabbed his hair and slammed his head to the ground, then lifted and kicked his feet.
The paperwork goes on to say: "WPD’s non-lethal use of force policy provides that officers use only the minimum amount of force necessary to affect and arrest, overcome resistance, defend themselves or others, or to gain control."
"Actions like that compromise trust in the community, the trust the community has with law enforcement," said Kowalski. "I commend the Macomb County Prosecutor, the police department as well as the US Attorney for aggressively investigating this."
Last month, Warren police fired Rodriguez, who was initially charged with assault and battery — a misdemeanor. Now comes federal charges.
"It should send a clear message to those officers who defy their oath, and the constitution, contrary to the vast majority of law enforcement officers who carry out their duties," Ison said.
"Again, no one is above the law, including Mr. Rodriguez, who took an oath of office. And as such, he will be prosecuted just as anyone else would be prosecuted,," said Macomb County Prosecutor Pete Lucido. "It gives a black eye to law enforcement, and it gives a black eye to the ones who try to do their best every day."
"Let me start by saying I think everyone is aware that this department is very transparent," said Warren Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer said.
An hour after the US Attorney’s Office announced its charges against Matthew Rodriguez, Dwyer spoke in Warren about the case.
Dwyer called Rodriguez’s actions a disgrace to the City of Warren and his department. He also commended the officers who reported Rodriguez to the authorities.
"It is my hope that the public does not associate every Warren police officer with the embarrassing actions of Matthew Rodriguez," Dwyer said. "The actions of Rodriguez are not what the professionals of this department stand for."
As for Jaquwan Smith, Lucido says Smith will have his day in court for the carjacking allegations.