Fort Lauderdale, FL — The Coral Springs police department is under the spotlight this week after a video has gone viral of one of their officers repeatedly punching a 14-year-old girl. Naturally, the department is telling the public to reserve judgement as the video does not show the entire story.
The video was uploaded to Instagram over the weekend and shows two officers—one male and one female—hold down the girl. The male officer then grabs the girl by her shorts and unleashes his fury with his fists.
“Why you hitting her?” someone in the video yells. “She can’t do that, her hands underneath her, the f*** you hitting her for?”
As WGN9 reports:
The police department in Coral Springs, about 30 miles northwest of Fort Lauderdale, said in a statement on Facebook on Friday that the video does not show the entire incident that led to the arrest.
Police said the incident took place Thursday when officers were called to Coral Square Mall about unruly teens who had been harassing people and causing a disturbance. When officers met with mall security, a mother told officers one of the teens shoved her 5-year-old child to the ground. Mall security also told officers one of the teens hit another teen. Officers issued a trespassing warning to the unruly teens and barred them from the mall.
The teens then returned to the mall, police said, where a boy was taken into custody without incident, but the girl in the video began cursing and attempted to rile up the other teens. Officers tried to take the girl into custody, but police said she began to fight and resist arrest. It was at this time, police said, that they took the girl to the ground because of “her stature and aggressive behavior” and tried to get her to release her fists.
“As seen in the video she resisted arrest, and in order to have her to comply she was struck in the side to release her clenched fists – she was then handcuffed,” the Coral Springs Police Department said in its Facebook statement.
As officers were trying to put her in the patrol car, police said she “violently kicked” one of the officers.
“The Coral Springs Police Department believes in transparency,” the department’s statement read. “It is important for people to have all of the facts before rushing to judgment of an officer’s actions when faced with calls for service involving violent suspects — regardless of their age or gender.”
The girl’s mother disagrees and says her daughter was clearly not resisting.
“She clearly wasn’t aggressive. Everyone could see she was laying there,” the girls mother, Jessica Dennis said. “So I just want justice to be served.”
Dennis explained that she has since hired an attorney who noted that the officer used excessive force.
“It’s clear from the video that my client was on the ground,” attorney Meeghan Moldof told WSVN. “Her hands are under her belly, the officer’s knees are on her back, and he’s just gut-shotting her, like one after another.”
Video shows arrest of 14-year-old girl who police say was acting aggressively & resisting arrest at Coral Square Mall when she was taken to ground and punched by officer https://t.co/J3xJWougs5 pic.twitter.com/1UGKK7wAgF
— WPLG Local 10 News (@WPLGLocal10) October 19, 2018