Police officers who were working during protests on May 31st in the Fort Lauderdale, Florida area were mocking victims as they deployed riot weapons based on newly released audio and video records.
Body camera footage reveals a lack of professionalism in words and action
The body camera footage shows the officers laughing after hitting protesters with rubber bullets. Another incident later in the day recorded two officers during a verbal exchange clearly using profanity and saying “Did you see me f*ck up those motherf*ckers?” Some of the officers involved in these interactions were identified by their superiors at the department.
Another officer who is the head of a swat team did not realize his body camera was recording as he used profanity and told one of his nearby officers that he thought his camera was in standby mode, so there would be no record of his conduct. The officers are later heard laughing at the protesters.
Other officers who were involved with the department claimed that these actions were inappropriate given the situation, and they do not represent the city as a whole. A former lieutenant with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office said that officers should have public safety in mind at all times during their shift, and not treat these kinds of altercations as a game.
However, the city’s police chief claims that the outlet that initially reported on the problem only showed a couple of minutes out of a clip of almost ten minutes. He claims that given the chaos of the situation, he understands why the officers became frustrated. He also said that the officers were apparently in the middle of a protest that had become violent, and a protester had just thrown a canister of tear gas back in their direction. A deputy chief from Boca Raton weighed in on the situation with the local media as well, and he said that these kinds of incidents will only reinforce the public’s distrust of the police and degrade relations further.
Two former police officers who reviewed the footage said that they both believed an internal affairs investigation should begin based on what they saw in the recordings.
The city of Fort Lauderdale is south of Boca Raton.
Law enforcement standards and professionalism
Police officers are supposed to only use force when necessary to prevent injury to the public or in self defense. They are also instructed to keep their tone professional while interacting with the public, including suspects in a criminal investigation. When officers deviate from these standards and injure someone, they can be sued in civil court.
Learn more about police brutality lawsuits
To get more information from a local attorney about bringing civil cases against the police after an incident or accident, contact:
5255 North Federal Highway, 3rd Floor, Boca Raton, Florida 33487