The director of the Miami-Dade Police Department said Thursday that he is firing an officer who was apparently seen on video hitting a woman across the face.
"As a result of an administrative investigation into the officer's conduct during this incident; it is my intent to proceed with the termination of the involved officer's employment with the Miami-Dade Police Department," Alfredo Ramirez III tweeted. "The administrative process to proceed with termination has been initiated. The MDPD holds itself accountable for its actions, and this is just another example of our commitment to do just that."
Miami filmmaker Billy Corben tweeted a video appearing to show the incident, which occurred at Miami International Airport Wednesday night.
In the video, an unmasked Black woman is heard arguing with a masked, male Miami-Dade police officer, though the reason is unknown. The woman can be heard yelling at the officer, "You acting like you White when you really Black. ... What you gonna do?" as she got in his face.
The officer hit the woman in the face before grabbing her and pushing her to the ground. It wasn't known whether she was hurt. A second officer rushed in, as did the officer whose body cam was recording the incident.
The officer who hit the woman could be heard claiming "she headbutted me."
A source told CBS Miami the officer is a 20 year veteran of the force.
The Miami Herald said multiple sources identified the officer as Antonio Clemente Rodriguez. He's stationed at the airport, according to the newspaper.
CBS Miami described the blow as a punch, but the Herald quoted Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association President Steadman Stahl as saying the officer hit her with an "open-hand slap," sometimes called a "diversionary strike."
"Clearly she was the aggressor. She was being asked to leave. She's being belligerent and she pushes her face right into his face," Stahl said.
Soon after the incident went viral, Ramirez tweeted that he was "shocked and angered" by the bodycam footage.
"I've immediately initiated an investigation and ordered that the involved officers be relieved of duty," he said. "Actions such as these undermine the hard work that we have invested in our community and causes my heart to break for our community and for the vast majority of our officers who dedicate their lives to serving our County."
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