A Florida police officer is coming under fire after a video began circulating this weekend showing him repeatedly punching a 14-year-old black girl while she remained pinned to the ground with the help of another officer during an arrest in Coral Springs, Florida, on Thursday, reports Buzzfeed News.
“Why you hitting her?” a woman can be heard screaming offscreen in the short video shared to Instagram earlier this week.
This is a Coral Springs police officer repeatedly punching a 14-YEAR-OLD BLACK GIRL.
This is WHY WE KNEEL!!
RETWEET THIS! pic.twitter.com/k8IdfAabai
— StanceGrounded (@_SJPeace_) October 19, 2018
Coral Springs Police released a statement about the incident on Friday, saying officers were initially called to the Coral Square Mall by security, who reported “unruly teens…who had been harassing patrons and causing a disturbance.”
The department claims the officers had pinned down the girl because she was acting “aggressive.”
“Officers attempted to take her into custody, at which time she began to fight and resist arrest. Due to her stature and aggressive behavior, officers took her to the ground attempting to get her to release her fists,” police said in the statement.
— Coral Springs Police (@CoralSpringsPD) October 19, 2018
Jessica Dennis, the mother of the teenage girl, told a local CBS affiliate that she felt the officer’s actions were “completely overboard.”
“Her hands are pinned up, he’s fish tailing her whole body with her shorts. It was just too much going on and she clearly wasn’t aggressive,” she said at a recent news conference, according to the station.
An attorney representing Dennis’ family said in a statement that “to say that the police officer was justified to punch her continuously while he has his knee on her back and her hands under her belly, the video speaks for itself.”
The police department, which noted it is not currently investigating the officer’s actions, said they would move to investigate Dennis’s actions if a formal complaint is submitted.