Police officer who pushed kneeling protester suspended in Florida
A Fort Lauderdale, Fla., police officer caught on camera shoving a kneeling woman to the ground at anti-police brutality protests on Sunday has been suspended, Mayor Dean Trantalis (D) said Sunday evening.
“If it’s turned out that he acted inappropriately, then we will have swift discipline in response to what he did. We do not appreciate that kind of conduct, nobody in the department wants to be disrespected, and we feel this should never have happened,” Trantalis said, according to The Associated Press. He did not identify the officer.
Several cities and counties throughout Florida imposed curfews Sunday evening as protesters gathered to demonstrate after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week.
Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on the back of his neck for several minutes despite Floyd’s protests that he was unable to breathe. Chauvin has been arrested on charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione said in a Monday news conference that the officer will be investigated to determine if he violated any laws.
The daylong Fort Lauderdale protests were largely peaceful, but later on Sunday activists split into several smaller groups, with police in riot gear firing tear gas and percussion grenades after saying bottles were thrown at them, according to a local CBS affiliate.
Other Florida cities, including Daytona Beach, Jacksonville and Tampa, saw similar gatherings over the weekend.
The announcement comes a day after Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) announced two city officers had been fired for alleged excessive force during a Saturday evening protest after video surfaced of several dragging two people out of a car. Bottoms said another three officers had been placed on desk duty pending review.
Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields, speaking at the same press conference, called the video “really shocking to watch.”
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