Bodycam Footage Shows Florida Police Laughing While Shooting Rubber Bullets At Protesters
Official police bodycam footage shows officers laughing and celebrating while shooting rubber bullets at protesters in Florida.
Fort Lauderdale Police Department was forced to release a full eight-minute clip after Detective Zachary Baro’s footage emerged online, showing the use of tear gas and rubber bullets.
The video also shows Officer Jamie Chatman asking Baro if his camera was on, to which he replied that it was in stand-by mode and therefore not recording. At this point, the pair started laughing.
You watch a clip from the bodycam footage below:
The incident unfolded on May 31, as Baro led the department’s SWAT team in a conflict with protesters. In the video, one officer said: ‘Did you see me f*ck up those motherf*ckers?’ While another replied: ‘I got the one f*cker.’
Miami Herald originally broke the story after securing the footage featuring the laughing, prompting the police department to release a more extensive video leading up to that moment.
On Thursday, July 2, Fort Lauderdale City Manager Chris Lagerbloom said he was ‘troubled by what I saw on the video’, while adding he ‘would not want the actions of a few to taint the public’s perception of the dedication and professionalism of the department as a whole’.
I can understand the intensity of the moment captured on body camera footage as the officers were clearly under attack. The exchange recorded by the body cameras paints an unflattering yet truthful depiction of the chaos they were operating in. The language the officers used, and sentiment expressed is not consistent with what the public expects from our police force.
In a separate statement, the police department wrote that it is ‘in the process of conducting an exhaustive review to include nearly 8,000 minutes of body-worn camera footage’, with an after-action report to be completed within the next 30 days.
Alongside a link to the footage, it added: ‘The entire video clearly demonstrates our officers were under attack by a group of people who chose to use violence instead of peace to antagonise the situation. Although the language is extreme, and offensive to some, our officers were dealing with the chaos of a developing situation’.
At the same protest, LaToya Ratlieff was hit in the face with a rubber bullet, reportedly leaving the 34-year-old with a fractured skull and 20 stitches. Another police officer, Steven Pohorence, was also charged with battery after pushing a kneeling protester to the ground.
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