A Miami-Dade police officer is being fired after video surfaced showing him hitting a woman in the face at the Miami International Airport on Tuesday.
"I am shocked and angered by a body cam video that i just saw involving one of our officers," Alfredo Ramirez, the director of the Miami-Dade Police Department, tweeted Wednesday night.
On Thursday, he followed up by announcing that the "administrative process to proceed with termination" of the officer had been started, adding that the police department "holds itself accountable for its actions, and this is just another example of our commitment to do just that."
Ramirez has also requested that State Attorney Katherine Rundle investigate the incident.
"Like so many in our community, I am angered when possible evidence & allegations arise indicating potential abusive or improper conduct by a police officer," Rundle said in a statement. "I have spoken to MDPD Director Ramirez about this incident and have my Public Corruption prosecutors gathering the body camera evidence and witness/victim testimony at this very moment.”
The video Ramirez was referring to was widely shared on Wednesday after filmmaker Billy Corben tweeted it. It is unclear how Corben obtained it. The Miami Herald obtained an original copy of the footage.
The security camera footage shows a confrontation between a Black woman and an officer, during which she is heard telling him, "You acting like you white when you really Black... what you want to do?"
The woman is then seen approaching the officer and standing inches away from his face, before he forcefully hits the left side of her face. The woman appears to fall backward as other officers rush in to arrest her. The officer can be heard saying, "She headbutted me," but the video does not appear to show that.
The woman, identified as 21-year-old Paris Anderson, was arrested on charges of battery of a police officer and disorderly conduct, according to an arrest report obtained by BuzzFeed News.
The officer, Antonio Clemente Rodriguez, was identified as a Black officer of Puerto Rican heritage, the Miami Herald reported.
Rodriguez, a 28-year veteran officer, was relieved of "sworn law enforcement duties of any kind" pending the outcome of the internal investigation and that of the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, said Christopher Thomas, a spokesperson for the police department. No other officers have been disciplined.
Rodriguez wrote in the arrest report that Anderson was threatening to punch an American Airlines booking agent who did not allow her to board her flight to Chicago after she arrived late on Tuesday night.
Anderson, the report stated, "became upset" when she was told that her next available flight would not be until the next morning. When she was told she could not go behind the rebooking counter to get her boarding pass, "she began to threaten and curse" employees, according to the arrest report.
Rodriguez said that when Anderson was asked to gather her belongings so officers could escort her away, she "became belligerent and began to yell obscenities" and said, "I should go over there and punch him in his face," referring to the booking agent.
When Rodriguez ordered Anderson to gather her belongings again, she "aggressively approached this officer violating this officer's personal space, bumped this officer with her body and struck this officer with her head on the chin while screaming, 'what are you going to do,'" he wrote in the report.
Rodriguez "immediately took a step back" and "struck Ms. Anderson on her left side of the face with an open hand," the report said.
He said that Anderson was not wearing a face mask and was spitting in the direction of the officers while they escorted her to the patrol vehicle.
He wrote in the report that he "needed to forcibly grab her by the hair and keep her face pointing forward," to prevent her from spitting toward the officers.
During recent nationwide protests against police brutality, there have been several cases where police officers were recorded acting violently. In some cases, the officers were charged, including an officer in New York City who was charged with third-degree assault after he was caught on camera throwing a woman protester to the ground. In Atlanta, six police officers were charged with assault and battery for allegedly using excessive force to detain two college students.