A Florida police officer who hit a woman at Miami International Airport is being fired, the director of Miami-Dade police said Thursday.
Video of the incident was shared on Twitter on Wednesday night by Billy Corben, producer of the "Cocaine Cowboys" documentaries and a critic of police tactics.
In the video, the woman taunts and argues with the officer and walks up to him before he strikes her.
"Don't walk up on me, for real," she says. "What you wanna do?"
Police Director Alfredo "Freddy" Ramirez III said on Twitter Thursday that the "administrative process to proceed with termination has been initiated" in the case.
An arrest report released Thursday by the Miami-Dade Police Department says the incident happened Tuesday about 8:25 p.m. The officer involved in the altercation, identified as A. Rodriguez, is the stated author of the report.
It says officers responded to a disturbance at an American Airlines gate counter. The suspect, identified as Paris Sharon Anderson, 21, is said to have been upset because she was denied boarding and was told to seek a flight the next day, the report says.
"Ms. Anderson 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,'" the report states.
"This officer immediately took a step back, struck Ms. Anderson on her left side of the face with an open hand," it says.
In the video the officer is heard saying, "She head-butted me." But that doesn't appear to be the case.
The report says Rodriguez "forcibly" grabbed her by the hair "in an effort to control Ms. Anderson from continuing to spit in the area of the officers." This was done, it says, to "keep her face pointing forward."
After the suspect was placed in a police vehicle, Anderson spit on an interior divider, described as a "shield," and then complained of shortness of breath, the report says. She refused treatment and was booked on allegations of battery on a police officer and disorderly conduct.
There was no record of her being in custody Thursday at Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Ramirez initially indicated Wednesday that more than one officer had been removed from duty in response to the use of force. However, Detective Alvaro Zabaleta later clarified via email that "only 'one' officer was relieved of duty."
Ramirez said in a statement, "I am shocked and angered by a body cam video that I just saw involving one our officers. Actions such as these undermine the hard work that we have invested in our community and causes my heart to break for our community and for the vast majority of our officers who dedicate their lives to serving our County."
He said that the matter was under investigation and that he's invited Florida State Attorney for Miami-Dade County Katherine Fernandez Rundle to join the inquiry.
"This will not stand and I assure our community that any officer acting in this vain will be held to account," Ramirez said.
Rundle responded Thursday that she has public corruption prosecutors looking into the case.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez called the incident "appalling" and "unnecessary."
"It’s excessive use of force and unnecessary. That’s NOT what our @MiamiDadePD are trained to do," he tweeted.