CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — A Florida police officer was fired after an internal review found he used excessive force on a 13-year-old boy who had been involved in a fight at a youth shelter.
Clearwater police Chief Dan Slaughter told reporters that 33-year-old Michael Leonardo made mistakes that “cannot be overlooked” when he responded to the call on April 2.
Surveillance video shows Leonardo grab the teen across the chest and slam him face-first onto a sidewalk outside the shelter. The boy chipped a tooth and had scratches on his face.
Leonardo told investigators he thought the boy was trying to escape. The boy said he tripped on his shoe, which could have come across as resisting the officer.
Two backup officers were given training and counseling for conduct after the takedown.