Clearwater police officer fired for excessive force

- After an internal investigation, Clearwater police have terminated an officer who used excessive force on a 13-year-old.

Police say they were called to a temporary shelter for youth on April 2nd around 10 a.m. because of a disturbance. The caller said the teen resident was violent, punching another teenager and throwing and breaking things.

Police say the first officer who arrived handcuffed the teen and told him he was being charged with battery. As they walked out the door, the officer said he thought the teen was trying to break away, so the officer took him to the ground while the teen was handcuffed.

The teen's face hit the pavement and he broke his nose and chipped two of his teeth, Chief Daniel Slaughter said Wednesday.

The teen, seen on video in the takedown, was put into the police cruiser, but taken out again because he was bleeding, and paramedics were called. The teen was sitting down on the ground and also seen laying down on the ground due to his injuries while he waited for paramedics to arrive.

After an investigation, the Clearwater Police Department determined Officer Michael Leonardo used excessive force and the officer was terminated.

Chief Slaughter said the department wanted to make sure it was being transparent about what took place and how they took corrective action.

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