A Florida police officer who hit a woman, apparently at Miami International Airport, was “relieved of duty,” the director of Miami-Dade police said Wednesday.
Video of the incident was shared on Twitter on Wednesday night by Billy Corben, producer of the “Cocaine Cowboys” documentaries and a critic of police tactics.
In the video, the woman taunts and argues with the officer and walks up to him before he strikes her.
“Don’t walk up on me, for real” she says. “What you wanna do?”
After the punch, the officer declares, “She head-butted me.”
It wasn’t immediately clear when the confrontation happened. Corben’s post appears to show video of a screen playing police body-camera footage.
Nobody in the video has been publicly identified.
Airport representatives referred inquiries to the Miami-Dade Police Department.
Police Director Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez III initially indicated on Twitter that more than one officer had been removed from duty.
However, Detective Alvaro Zabaleta later clarified via email that “only ‘one’ officer was relieved of duty.”
In a revised statement, Ramirez said:
“I am shocked and angered by a body cam video that I just saw involving one our officers. I’ve immediately initiated an investigation and ordered that the involved officer be relieved of duty. Actions such as these undermine the hard work that we have invested in our community and causes my heart to break for our community and for the vast majority of our officers who dedicate their lives to serving our County.”
He said that the matter was under investigation and that he’s invited Florida State Attorney for Miami-Dade County Katherine Fernandez Rundle to join the inquiry.
“This will not stand and I assure our community that any officer acting in this vain will be held to account,” Ramirez said.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez called the incident “appalling” and “unnecessary.”
“It’s excessive use of force and unnecessary. That’s NOT what our @MiamiDadePD are trained to do,” he tweeted.
Suzanne Ciechalski contributed.
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