Miami-Dade Police Slapped Man With Down Syndrome

Categories: News
Just weeks after North Miami Police fatally shot an autistic man playing with a toy gun, officers from another South Florida police force are in hot water for using violence against a mentally disadvantaged man. NBC Miami reports that Saturday night, a Miami-Dade Police officer slammed a man with Down syndrome to the ground and then smacked him across the head. The officers were suspicious after seeing a bulge in the man's pants. It turned out to be a colostomy bag.

Twenty-two-year-old Gilberto Powell was confronted by officers Saturday at 9:30 p.m. near SW 111th Place and 138th Street. Officers spotted a bulge in his waistband and began to pat him down.

Powell, who has Down syndrome, became confused and tried to flee. The officers tried to place him in handcuffs, but his head hit the ground. Powell struck one of the officers in the chest, and then an officer "struck [Powell] in the left side of his face with an open hand in an attempt to subdue him," according to the police report.

Only after they had handcuffed him did they realize Powell was "mentally challenged, was not capable of understanding our commands, and that the bulge in his waistband was a colostomy bag."

"The Miami-Dade Police Department continues to investigate the incident involving Mr. Gilberto Powell," says an MDPD statement. "The integrity of the investigation and successful resolution of this case continues to remain our highest priority. As a result, the investigation remains active and ongoing; therefore, we cannot provide additional information at this time."

Powell's family is looking into the possibility of a lawsuit.

[NBCMiami: Man With Down Syndrome in Clash With Cops]

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
Christina Schubert
Christina Schubert

Have you seen the photos of his brutalized face? He wasn't slapped. He was beaten and he had his colostomy bag ripped out of his body. I'm willing to bet he was embarrassed of his bag and that's why he turned away from them.  Doing what they did to anyone is horrific, to do it to a young man with Down Syndrome? Unconscionable.

I want to know who these cops are and what their punishment will be. Hopefully besides prison time they can do community service at the Special Olympics dressed in pinata suits. I hope Gilberto's family receives justice and a whole lot of money.


For many years police officers has been getting away with doing harm to others, by not thinking before they act, the unjust towards the young men with down syndrome, should not only be top but the officers need to either be removed from the department or be subjected to major counseling on a daily bases we as citizens have rights, but it seems that ethnics have more problems with police then others cause money talks for the rich and not the poor. 


That was not a slap - that was an assault. The police officer is an ignorant, uneducated, goon who should be arrested and charged.


Glenn61 you are an idiot, please do us all a favor and comment on something you actually care about.. filthy animal


Interesting enough, who you may consider mentally disabled the young man that has down syndrome, or the cops who were unable to recognize the obvious.  Look at a picture of the victim, it's obvious - he has down syndrome.  I think the cops are mentally retarded, and you for writing such stupidity! 


When will it be too much, people? Police brutality, not to mention stupidity, is virtually ubiquitous. Will you wait until you or someone you love is the victim? These pathetic thugs need to get the message in no uncertain terms that, as our employees we demand better than this. When we allow this behavior, we are condoning it. They should be fired, not put on administrative leave with pay. They should be prosecuted by the laws they swore to uphold. They should be convicted and placed in general population with some of the other folks they put there where they can learn a whole new set of social skills!

Now Trending

Miami Concert Tickets

From the Vault