TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The head Hillsborough County’s NAACP is calling for a Tampa police officer to be fired after the release of body camera video from an incident that happened in June in Ybor Heights.
The video was recorded on body camera belonging to Officer Dukagjin Maxhuni, a 10-year veteran of the department, during an arrest outside of a store at the corner of North 15th Street and East 26th Avenue.
In the video, the suspect can be seen running toward Maxhuni while trying to avoid other officers who were trying to take him into custody.
It’s the words and actions of Maxhuni after the arrest that are now being called into question.
“That was one hell of a flying knee from me guys. Hey, hey, we got him relax. That was one hell of a flying knee, I didn’t even know I could do that,” the officer is heard yelling.
Then he begins taunting the crowd.
“What are you going to do? What are you going to do? What are you going to do? Hey, loud mouth, what are you going to do? Come talk to me now. You want to be a tough guy, come talk to me now,” Maxhuni said.
Much of what he yelled was too profane to print.
Yvette Lewis, the president of the Hillsborough County’s NAACP chapter has seen the video and said believes the officer was trying to bait the crowd into a fight.
“His actions was very unacceptable, very unacceptable,” said Lewis. “The officer walked around taunting the young men that were standing there. I have a problem with that.”
Tampa Police Chief Lee Bercaw issued the following statement regarding the matter:
“The officers’ actions and statements were unacceptable and failed to treat the community with the dignity and respect that is the standard of the Tampa Police Department. We have a system in place to flag behavior not consistent with our code of conduct. In this situation, it worked. An internal audit identified the behavior, and an investigation was immediately launched back in 2022. The officer was disciplined and removed from his squad and the neighborhood he served. This type of behavior will not be tolerated. The Tampa Police Department will continue to hold all officers to the highest possible standard as it’s what our community expects and deserves.”
Lewis believes that the officer should be fired.
“Who’s the next person he’s going to run in to, and is this behavior going to continue?” Lewis said.