CORAL SPRINGS, FLA. (WSVN) – The mother and attorney of a teenage girl who was captured on cellphone video being beaten by an officer outside of a mall in Coral Springs are speaking out on the controversial arrest, but officials said the viral clip doesn’t tell the whole story.
The video, recorded Thursday at Coral Square Mall, shows the 14-year-old girl face down on the ground, on top of her hands, as two Coral Springs Police officers try to handcuff her. During the confrontation, an officer is seen punching the girl twice in the ribs.
“Why are you hitting her?” a girl is heard screaming in the video. “She can’t do it. She can’t do that. Her hands underneath her.”
The video has many in the community in an uproar. The teen’s mother, Jessica Dennis, spoke with 7News about the incident on Friday.
“I’m angry. I would never expect this to happen,” she said.
Dennis said the daughter is not seen in the video fighting back.
“She clearly wasn’t aggressive. Everyone could see she was laying there,” she said, “so I just want justice to be served.”
Dennis and her daughter have hired attorney Meeghan Moldof, who said the officer used excessive force during the arrest.
“It’s clear from the video that my client was on the ground. Her hands are under her belly, the officer’s knees are on her back, and he’s just gut-shotting her, like one after another,” said Moldof.
However, investigators said the video only shows the end of the story.
Detectives said, due to early release from school, there were large groups of teens at the Coral Square mall on Thursday. The situation began after officers received a call about unruly teens who had been harassing and cursing other shoppers.
“In one case, they actually were reported to have knocked over a small child, a 5-year-old child,” said Coral Springs Police Deputy Chief Brad McKeone.
Police said the 14-year-old was seen pushing another teen. She and the other teens were issued a trespass warning and told not to return.
Investigators said most of the teens left, but some stayed, including the girl seen on the video.
After a teenage boy was arrested, police said, the girl in the video began cursing and trying to incite the other teens.
A statement issued by Coral Springs Police reads, “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. As seen in the video, she resisted arrest, and in order to have her comply, she was struck in the side to release her clenched fists.”
“What you see on video is the officer delivering some strikes, distraction strikes to an area where she has her hands concealed underneath her,” said McKeone. “The officers don’t know what she may have in her possession. That’s a concern.”
The teen was then taken into custody. Shortly after, police said, she kicked a female officer in the stomach.
McKeone said the actions of the officer in the video were not excessive.
“The officers didn’t go there to take anybody into custody,” he said. “They went there for juvenile disturbance. They went there to restore some peace and order to the mall.”
But Moldof said the teen’s behavior does not justify the officer’s actions.
“To say that the police officer was justified to punch her continuously while he has his knees on her back and her hands around her belly, the video speaks for itself,” she said. “That’s the truth right there.”
Dennis said the video was difficult for her to watch.
“I really couldn’t keep watching it. It was just too much, because it just makes you angry,” she said. “I mean, I was heartbroken.”
The incident has caused the concerned mother to become disillusioned with local police.
“I can’t trust them anymore. Like I don’t feel safe in the area,” she said.
The teen is facing three separate charges. She was taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center in Fort Lauderdale.
Her family has hired two attorneys to deal with the criminal and civil cases.
Police would like to speak with more witnesses and watch any other cellphone video of the incident that may have been recorded. If you think you can help investigators in this case, call Coral Springs Police at 954-344-1800.
Alabama AG says Hoover police officer was justified in fatal shooting at Riverchase Galleria
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall today released a report saying a Hoover police officer was justified in the fatal shooting of 21-year-old Emantin “E.J.” Bradford Jr. at the Riverchase Galleria on Thanksgiving night.
Along with his report, Marshall released surveillance video of the shooting. Watch the footage above.
“Officer 1 reasonably exercised his official duties, powers, or functions when he shot E.J. Bradford on the night of November 22, 2018,” Marshall concluded. “Accordingly, Alabama law declares his action “justified and not criminal.” Ala. Code § 13A-3-22. Because Officer 1 did not commit a crime under Alabama law, Rule 3.8(1)(a) of the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct dictates that the Attorney General “shall refrain” from seeking criminal charges against Officer 1.”
In a release, Marshall said “it was his understanding” that the FBI had reviewed the case and came to the same conclusion.
The report also says the officer fired four rounds, three of which struck Bradford. According to the report, the fourth bullet was recovered from a pillar outside a shoe store. The officers were not identified in the report.
Marshall spoke about his ruling Tuesday afternoon.
“Our hope is not just when law enforcement reads the report, but the public at large is able to see a very specific function we have in these cases: that’s not to assess specifically whether or not an officer was consistent with policy of a specific agency, it’s whether or not they acted reasonably in the actions they took,” he said. “And here, based on the totality of the circumstances, again, roughly a two-second period of time, when the officer had to evaluate what he saw, what the threat was, what action he would take is this officer acted appropriately.”
Ben Crump, the attorney for the Bradford family, spoke to the media about the ruling outside the U.S. Attorney’s office in Birmingham. Crump said a wrongful death lawsuit will be filed.
“Until the full video has been released to the public, everyone is subject to the editing bias that the Attorney General’s Office chose to apply in preparing its report,” Crump said in a release. “The decision to evade a grand jury mimics the darkens patterns of injustice woven throughout Alabama’s sad history of race relations. From the beginning, this case has been riddled with dubious actions by officials. In December, the Attorney General took this case away from Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr, the first black person to hold that position, undermining the trust of our community and further proving why we demand transparency from those in power.”
Hoover City Council President Gene Smith said, “We’re going to stand behind our officer and our police department at this point, as we have before, with the knowledge of what we have learned today.”
DaQuan Huey 17, blind in one eye after being shot by police at close range with a Pepper Spray Gun JXP
According to TXKToday – The Texarkana Texas Police Department is currently investigating a use of force incident by an officer against a 17 year old man. Departmental policy requires all use of force incidents be reported and reviewed by department administration. Following the incident, a complaint alleging excessive force was received from the guardian of the man.
On Sunday, January 27, officers were dispatched to multiple calls of large disturbances and fights in the area of Brookwood Street and Belt Road. When the first officers arrived, they encountered a group of approximately eighty people fighting in the street.
After the crowd started to disperse, two officers were alerted to a man with a ball bat and a woman fighting in the alley and ran to their location. As the man and woman were exchanging punches with each other, one officer grabbed the man around his chest and attempted to pull him away from the woman. The man resisted while the officer tried to hold on to him with one hand and keep the woman away by pointing his JPX pepper gun at her with the other hand. The man managed to turn toward the officer and began to come at him in an apparent effort to attack the officer. While still trying to control the man with one hand, the officer fired one shot from his JPX pepper gun. The officers were then able to take both into custody.
The 17 year old man was transported by ambulance to a local hospital, where he was treated for his injuries as a result of his involvement in the fights and the JPX deployment. Witnesses at the scene indicated that both the 17 year old man and another man had been struck with a ball bat just before the officers arrived.
Warrants for the future arrest of the 17 year old have been issued for Disorderly Conduct – Fighting in Public and Resisting Arrest.
A federal lawsuit has been filed and any follow up inquiries for information on this matter will need to be directed to the attorneys representing the City.
According to Attorney Lee Merritt…On January 27, 2019 seventeen year old #DaQuanHuey was breaking up a fight between friends. A relationship dispute had turned ugly and DaQuan managed to grab a hold of a bat being wielded by one of the agitators. He tried to convince everyone to calm down and prevent anyone from getting seriously hurt … Then police arrived. Officers immediately drew down on DaQuan and ordered that he “drop the bat”! He complied. The crowd involved in the brawl began to disperse and police pursued the fleeing individuals. As people moved in every direction DaQuan found himself suddenly being rushed by a woman upset that he had intervened and attempted to breakup the fight earlier. As the woman advanced on him, DaQuan backed away until he was suddenly grabbed from behind by someone he later learned to be a police officer. DaQuan could not see who was grabbing him and struggled to break free of his hold. The man spun DaQuan around and shot him at point blank range in the face with a JPX device (pepper spray gun). The force from the discharge fractured DaQuan’s medial left orbital wall blinding him in his left eye permanently. DaQuan was trying to break up a fight. He was a peacemaker. At no point did he represent a danger to police officers or anyone else. The brutal assault on DaQuan by Texarkana Texas PD was completely unjustified and we demand justice.
Arlington police killed Tavis Crane for ‘no lawful reason,’ family’s lawsuit says
According to Star-Telegram The family of a 23-year-old man who was shot during a traffic stop and pronounced dead at the hospital has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court seeking damages from the city of Arlington.
About two years ago, Tavis Crane, his daughter and several passengers were stopped in the 1700 block of Spring Lake Drive by Elise Bowden, an Arlington officer, who later noticed the driver had warrants out for his arrest, according to Arlington police.
Bowden called for backup and two additional units responded.
When the officers approached Crane to arrest him, he refused to comply and put his car in reverse, hitting Bowden and slamming into her patrol car, police said. To get the suspect to stop, one of the backup officers got into Crane’s car from the rear passenger door and shot him, according to a police report.
As Crane pulled forward, he again ran over the female officer who was on the ground, as he tried to flee. His car pulled ahead and came to a stop after rounding a curve at the end of the road, police said.
The lawsuit, filed in January, recounts a different set of facts, however, saying that Craig Roper, an Arlington police officer named as a party in the lawsuit, jumped in the back seat of the vehicle with his weapon drawn and shot Crane as he tried to turn off the vehicle’s ignition.
The vehicle did not go into reverse until after Roper shot Crane, according to the lawsuit.
“Once Roper shot Crane for no lawful reason, Crane was no longer in control of the vehicle, did not have the ability to operate the vehicle nor would he have been aware that Bowden was walking behind the vehicle,” the lawsuit states.
“The officer hit the gear shift after Crane was shot,” said Daryl Washington, the attorney representing the family. “You can hear the gunshot before the car moves. Clearly, the officer caused this. He should have never jumped in the back seat.”
Roper’s moving the gear shift caused the vehicle to go in reverse, Washington said. As the car rolled forward, Roper shot Crane a second time, the lawsuit states.
Washington said there was never probable cause to stop Crane’s car, a white 2005 Ford Crown Victoria, in the first place.
Officers tried to help the suspect before he was taken to Arlington Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 12:31 a.m., according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s website.
Two other adults and a toddler in the suspect’s car were not injured in the incident. Bowden recovered from her injuries after being treated at John Peter Smith Hospital for several broken bones.
In addition to recovering damages for the family, the lawsuit seeks to recover damages for the two adult witnesses for mental anguish and severe emotional distress from being in the line of fire during the shooting, according to the lawsuit.
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