Florida Cops Caught Laughing And Bragging About Shooting Protestors While Thinking Their Body Cams Were Off
Florida police officers were caught by their own body cams bragging about shooting Black Lives Matter protestors with rubber bullets at a demonstration on May 31.
According to The Miami Herald, who obtained footage from the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, two police officers from Fort Lauderdale can be heard calling protestors “f—kers’ and laughing about shooting them.
Detective Zachary Baro, who leads a Fort Lauderdale SWAT team unit, could be heard saying “Beat it, little f—er,” in response to officers shooting the non-lethal projectiles at a protester who threw a tear gas canister back at police, according to The Herald.
Baro is then approached by another officer, Jamie Chatman, who asked him if his body cam was turned off. Baro told Chatman that it was on “standby-mode, not noticing that it was actually on.
The men are then heard laughing and having the following exchange, but it is not immediately clear who said each line:
“Did you see me f— up those motherf—ers?” one officer said.
“I got the one f—er,” the other replied.
The officers received condemnation for their remarks.
Robert Drago, who formerly served as a lieutenant colonel at the Broward Sheriff’s Office before retiring, called their statements “inappropriate” and “unprofessional.”
“It’s not a carnival. This isn’t hit-three-times-and-get-a-stuffed-animal,” Drago told The Herald. “It doesn’t seem like these officers had public safety in mind at all.”
Philip Sweeting, former deputy chief of police in Boca Raton, also called their conduct “unprofessional.”
“They shouldn’t be laughing and joking about shooting and potentially hurting people,” Sweeting told The Herald. “It reinforces the public’s distrust of the police. It shouldn’t be tolerated.”
Former police officer George Kirkham also condemned the two officers.
“This is serious misconduct. This is people with badges acting like thugs,” Kirkham told the Herald. “It’s like a cancer. If you let it go, it will spread.”
Kirkham suggested Baro and other officers should be subject to an internal investigation in light of their conduct in the video footage.
“I understand what it’s like to have that adrenaline. I’ve been in a riot situation,” he told The Herald. “But that does not excuse that kind of verbiage and behavior. It suggests that the police think they can do whatever they want and get away with it.”
While multiple officers condemned Baro and Chatman, Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione defended the two officers.
“The entire video clearly demonstrates our officers were under attack by a group of people who chose to use violence instead of peace to antagonize the situation,” Maglione claimed. “Although the language is extreme and offensive to some, our officers were dealing with the chaos of a developing situation.”
You can see the footage below provided by The Herald:
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