MIAMI (CBS) – The director of the Miami-Dade Police Department has ordered an investigation after one of his officers was seen on video hitting a woman across the face, reports CBS Miami. The officer has been relieved of duty.
It all started when Miami filmmaker Billy Corben tweeted a video of the incident, which occurred at Miami International Airport Wednesday night.
In the video, an unmasked Black woman is heard arguing with a masked, male Miami-Dade police officer, though the reason is unknown.
The woman can be heard yelling at the officer, “You acting like you White when you really Black. … What you gonna do?” as she gets in his face.
The officer proceeds to hit the woman in the face before grabbing her and pushing her to the ground. It wasn’t known whether she was hurt.
A second officer rushes in, as does the officer whose body cam was recording the incident.
The officer who hit the woman could be heard claiming “she headbutted me.”
A source told CBS Miami the officer is a 20-year veteran of the force.
The Miami Herald says multiple sources identified the officer as Antonio Clemente Rodriguez, who is Black and of Puerto Rican heritage. He’s stationed at the airport, the newspaper says.
CBS Miami described the blow as a punch but the Herald quotes Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association President Steadman Stahl as saying the officer hit her with an “open-hand slap,” sometimes called a “diversionary strike.”
“Clearly she was the aggressor. She was being asked to leave. She’s being belligerent and she pushes her face right into his face,” Stahl remarked to the newspaper.
After seeing the video, Miami Police Director Freddy Ramirez tweeted that it “shocked and angered” him and he “initiated an investigation and ordered that the involved officers be relieved of duty.”
“This will not stand, and I assure our community that any officer acting in this vain will be held to account,” he said, adding that he’s asked Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle’s office to join the investigation.
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