Leaders In Broward, Miami-Dade Address Use Of Force Questions Following Clashes With Protesters Over Police Killings
FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The fallout from the chaos in Fort Lauderdale and Miami following protests over the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis continues.
In Fort Lauderdale Thursday, Mayor Dean Trantalis weighed in on a protester being bloodied, reportedly from a rubber bullet to the head fired by a Fort Lauderdale police officer.
In a statement, Trantalis called the incident "reprehensible" and said that "when people wish to assemble in peace they should not fear our police or anyone else." He added that the "Police Department's use-of-force policy states that officers should not target the head when using this type of non-lethal force. The city needs to get to the bottom of what occurred and take whatever disciplinary action is necessary."
The Fort Lauderdale Police Department is investigating and Chief Rick Maglione is asking for the public to send video and pictures of the protest Sunday to the department.
The Police Department released a statement on Thursday saying they have tried to contact the victim, LaToya Ratlieff, numerous times but have been unable to locate her.
Trantalis also discussed the actions of Officer Steven Pohorence who was seen on video shoving a protester on Sunday. Pohorence is suspended. Trantalis called the actions "disturbing" and "extremely offensive." He said "officers are trained regularly on what constitutes appropriate use of force and how they should conduct themselves when interacting with the public."
But Shave Calvey, President of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 31, said Trantalis is rushing to judgment.
"Mayor, your biased public statement based on personal opinions only does nothing but create a bigger division within our community and tarnish the reputation of the entire Fort Lauderdale Police Department," Calvey said in a video statement posted on Facebook.
Video from Sunday showed police firing tear gas into the crowd. It also shows demonstrators throwing items at officers. CBS 4 News wanted to speak with the department or police union about use of force polices and protocols but our requests were denied.
In Miami, video circulated on social media showing the rough takedown of a man earlier this week who appeared to say something to officers.
Miami-Dade County Police Department Freddy Ramirez addressed use of force questions on Thursday morning, although he was not asked directly about the aforementioned video seen on social media.
"We investigate all of our cases," Ramirez said during a conference call with reporters on Thursday morning. "We have several layers of investigation. I even reorganized the department to ensure that we have a more streamlined process at not only investigating issues but identifying trends before they become a problem."
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