Coral Springs police have come to the defense of an officer after a video surfaced that shows him punching a 14-year-old girl who was pinned to the ground during an arrest.
NBC Miami reports officers were called by mall security to the Coral Springs Mall on Thursday because a group of “unruly teens” were harassing patrons.
“Upon meeting with security, an officer was stopped by a mother, who indicated her 5-year old child was shoved to the ground by one of the teens,” Coral Springs police said. “In addition, mall security indicated one of the female teens (arrested) was seen striking another teen patron.”
The teens were given a no trespass warning, but two of the teens returned to the mall. One of them, a male, was arrested without incident, but police said the girl seen in the video “began cursing, attempting to incite the other teens,” and resisted arrest when officers tried to detain her.
An Instagram user identified as Victoria Cedeno posted a video of the incident that shows the girl lying on the ground as officers try to restrain her. One officer is seen pinning her down with his knee and punching her at least twice. Cedeno said the officer punched her cousin because she “back talked him.” She said her cousin was leaving the mall after a boy spit in her face when she was confronted by 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.”
Coral Springs police claim the teen “violently kicked” the officer after she was placed in handcuffs.
“Due to her stature and aggressive behavior, officers took her to the ground attempting to get her to release her fists,” Coral Springs police said in a statement. “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.”
“Immediately watching the video, I could not believe what I was seeing,” Meeghan Moldof, the girl’s attorney, told NBC Miami. “To me, it’s very clear it’s excessive force. There’s no reason for him to hit her.”
“The officer’s actions were 100 percent within policy, legal and were not excessive,” Dept. Chief Brad McKeone told reporters, according to CBS Miami.
The girl was arrested for battery on an officer, trespassing and resisting arrest and was transported to the Broward County’s Juvenile Assessment Center without incident.
Moldof said the girl’s mother has considered filing a lawsuit against the police department.