A Florida police officer is losing his job after he struck a woman who was yelling at him inside a terminal at Miami International Airport.
A bodycam video, posted on Twitter by South Florida filmmaker Billy Corben, shows the face mask-wearing Miami-Dade police officer speaking to the woman inside the terminal on Wednesday.
African American woman Paris Anderson, who was not wearing a face mask, becomes irate, saying, “You acting like you white when you really black. … What you want to do?” She approaches the officer, and puts her face right next to his, the video shows. The officer then punches her in the face.
A police report states that the woman struck the officer on the chin with her face before he hit her.
“She headbutted me,” the officer says on the video as his colleagues rush in to handcuff the woman.
Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredo Ramirez said Thursday that he had decided to fire the officer after reviewing the results of an investigation into his conduct. Ramirez said he has asked Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle to investigate the use of force.
“The MDPD holds itself accountable for its actions, and this is just another example of our commitment to do just that,” Ramirez said.
The Miami Herald reported that the woman was loudly complaining about a missed or delayed flight and a ticket agent called police. The officer arrived and began talking to the woman but the confrontation escalated when she began shouting at him, the newspaper report said.
Steadman Stahl, president of the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association, was quoted by the newspaper as saying the officer hit the woman with an “open-hand slap”, which is also called called a “diversionary strike”.
“Clearly she was the aggressor,” Stahl said. “She was being asked to leave. She’s being belligerent and she pushes her face right into his face.”