A Miami-Dade County Police Officer was relieved of duty after he was caught on camera punching a Black woman during a heated encounter at Miami International Airport. Antonio Clemente Rodriguez initially claimed the woman “headbutted” him before he subdued her and took her into custody. The charge and the woman’s identity are unknown. According to police, the woman complained loudly that she missed her flight and a ticket agent called police.
The video, which was uploaded to Facebook on Wednesday, shows a Black woman arguing with a masked cop. She then stepped into his personal space and said, “You acting like you white when you really Black… What you want to do?” Rodriguez, who is mixed with Black and Puerto Rican, is seen punching the woman and restraining her on police body cam. Officer Rodriguez will be fired.
The president of the Miami-Dade County Police Benevolent Association initially defended Rodriguez in a statement. He said the woman was “clearly” the aggressor, and Rodriguez was merely defending himself when he struck her with an “open hand slap,” which is referred to as 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,” PBA President Steadman Stahl told the Miami Herald. But after carefully reviewing the video, county officials condemned the officer’s actions. “I am shocked and angered by a body cam video that I just saw involving one of our officers,” Miami-Dade police Director Alfredo Ramirez said in a statement on Twitter. “I’ve immediately initiated an investigation and ordered that the involved officers be relieved of duty.”
Excessive force does not always end in death or injury.
Although this encounter did not end up in death, or significant injury to either party, it still resulted in the officer being relieved of his position with the Miami Dade County Police Force for actions of excessive force. While police officers are allowed the “use of force” including hands, batons, tasers, or other weapons when necessary, and in accordance with officer training and department policy, to control a situation, they must be held accountable if they overstep actions of a “reasonable person” during a tense encounter, while doing their job.
Excessive force is the term used to describe continued force, even after a criminal has been subdued and the situation is being controlled to eliminate danger to others and oneself. It has often been justified in high intensity situations where the potential for serious bodily harm, mass bodily harm, and death were present, leaving some unethical police officers to carry this over to encounters where no, or low force was necessary. The strike the officer made probably could have been avoided, and is the reason why excessive force action is sited as the reason for the officer losing his job.
Hire a lawyer.
If you, or someone you love has been victimized by any form of police brutality, speak to a legal professional who understands civil rights actions and the negative interaction resulting in police brutality.