FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) - The Coral Springs police department will not discipline one of their own after cellphone video showed their officer punching a teen while attempting to take her into custody at Coral Square Mall.
"No policy was violated. The officers went through what they are trained to do. We try verbal compliance first, and obviously that wasn't working," police said.
Police posted on Twitter that officers were called to the mall last Thursday by mall security because there were some unruly teens harassing people.
When officers arrived, a mother approached them and said one of the teens had pushed her five-year-old to the ground.
Mall security officers told them that one of the teens, the 14-year-old seen in the video, had hit another teen in the mall, according to the department's Twitter post.
The security officers asked the police to bar the teens from returning to the mall.
As the officers were getting ready to leave, Coral Spring police said they received another call about another incident at the mall involving one of the teens who had been barred from returning but did so anyway.
That teen was taken into custody.
According to police, it was at that time the 14-year-old began cursing at the officers and "attempting to incite the other teens."
Police say when they attempted to take her into custody, she fought back.
"Due to her stature and aggressive behavior, officers took her to the ground attempting to get her to release her fists," they posted on Twitter. "As seen in the video she resisted arrest, and in order to have her comply she was struck in the side to release her clenched fists - she was then handcuffed."
Officer Paul James explained in the police report that he punched her 3 times in the rib cage. He said since her hands were under her body, he was not sure if she had a weapon hidden in her waistband.
Coral Springs police say as she was being put in the patrol car, she lashed out again - kicking a female officer in the stomach.
The department said in viewing the video it's important to "have all the facts before rushing to judgment on an officer's actions."
Warning: The Video Contains Graphic Language
The video was posted on an Instagram account of a person identified as Victoria Cedeno aka "Victoria_Babyyy."
She wrote that the teen in the video is her 14-year-old cousin and she was being punched by the officer because she "back talked him." "I'm pissed," said the teen's mom, who did not want her daughter identified. "I'm angry. I would never expect this to happen," she said as she spoke today with her daughter and attorney by her side.
The woman said her cousin and some other teens were asked to leave the Coral Square Mall by security.
She posted on Instagram that as her cousin was walking out she was " confronted by these cops and thrown to the grown and punched because she couldn't get her hands free from under her when they were trying to handcuff her." "He went completely overboard. It was unnecessary," said Dennis. "Her hands are pinned up, he's fishtailing her whole body with her shorts, it was just too much going on and she clearly wasn't aggressive," the mother said.
Her attorney would only speak about the moments captured on video and shared on Instagram. "I'm not going to comment on the criminal aspect of the case," said attorney Meeghan Moldof, "But to say that the police officer was justified to punch her continuously while he has his knee on her back and her hands under her belly, it speaks for itself," she said.
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