On Thursday, Marilyn Smith saw police officers roughing up a young man in handcuffs so she pulled out her phone and began recording. In the 47-second clip, Smith captured officers allegedly beating the handcuffed man as they put him into the back of a squad car.
The young man was apparently being arrested for possessing a small amount of pot.
According to the Miami New Times:
Smith herself says that she was threatened by officers with arrest if she didn’t stop recording the incident even though it is perfectly legal to record police actions in public.
“That was the officer trying to grab my phone,” Smith told Local 10. “He snatched my arm, so I snatched back.”
After Smith captured the video and escaped the cops’ harassment, she uploaded it to her facebook page. The video then went super viral.
Eventually, Fraternal Order of Police Union President, Javier Ortiz, would become aware of the video. Instead of apologizing for the officer’s actions or say that he would look into the incident, Ortiz justified the violence and lashed out at Smith in a scathing post.
“As everyone is aware, social media has placed a very negative tone on law enforcement nationwide. On August 13th, there was a video that was posted in social media that shows an encounter with Miami Police Officers. While the video may seem concerning to some, the FOP is confident that when everything is analyzed with the totality of the circumstance, it will be concluded that the police officer was doing what he is supposed to be doing: Protecting our Community,” wrote Oritz.
“What is extremely concerning is that the poster of this video (aka Facebook Marilyn Smith) has photographs of her with young men armed with handguns. It seems that no one cares to address this. Social media has focused so much on #blacklifematters [sic] /alllifematters campaigns, yet nobody targets the root of the problem our community faces today.”
“If the police officer has done something not within policy, it must be corrected. With that said, there is a much more serious message by this video poster. Our community has accepted behavior that motivates violence in our younger generation. It’s time for the community to take a stand against this reckless behavior and stop the violence. As the saying goes: It takes a village to raise a child. Guns don’t belong in the hands of children. It is the responsibility of our stakeholders that live in our community to stop that from occurring in the first place.”
Shame on the Miami Fraternity Order of police shaming the the person & now blaming the community… Morally reprehensible & divisive
— Moneymakers305 (@miamivice3564) August 14, 2015
Choosing to lash out and shame the woman who posted the video of brutality instead of attempting to foster a connection with the community highlights how detached American police are from the citizens.
If police officers weren’t beating women, shooting unarmed teens, and stealing millions from the citizens, then this divide wouldn’t exist.
Miami police union is upset that someone posted pics that glorify violence. Here's how they decorated their website. pic.twitter.com/HrzawZxqWf
— Brad Heath (@bradheath) August 14, 2015
After the release of the video, the department said they were investigating it and they’ve yet to release the name of the oficer involved.
“We have seen the video, and we have launched a full internal affairs investigation into the matter,” said Miami PD spokesman Maj. Delrish Moss. “We take that responsibility very seriously. The officer involved in the incident will be relieved of duty as we investigate.”