Florida Cops Who Repeatedly Punched 14-Year-Old Black Girl Say She Was Acting ‘Aggressive’

On Friday, October 19, police officers responded to reports of “unruly teens, who had been harassing patrons and causing a disturbance” at a mall in Coral Springs, Florida. During the resulting altercation, captured on video, officers pinned a 14-year-old girl to the ground and repeatedly punched her in the side as a woman screams “Why you hitting her?” off-camera. 

The video, first posted to Instagram by a woman claiming to be the child’s cousin, went viral on Twitter, where many are decrying the arresting officer’s actions as police brutality.

The Coral Springs Police Department issued a statement attempting to explain the officer’s behavior. According to them, the 14-year-old girl was acting aggressive and refusing to release her fists so she could be handcuffed, leaving officers no choice but to strike her in the side. They also claimed she tried to kick a police officer while being escorted to the police cruiser. 

While Twitter users didn’t doubt the officer’s story of the 14-year-old’s misbehavior leading up to her arrest, many thought the officer’s treatment of the young girl went too far.  

The officer’s choice of action definitely seems like an extreme one considering the girl’s age.

Jessica Dennis, the girl’s mother, commented on how painful watching the video was for her:

I really couldn’t keep watching it. It was just too much, because it just makes you angry. I mean, I was heartbroken. She clearly wasn’t aggressive. Everyone could see she was laying there…so I just want justice to be served.

The family has hired attorney Meeghan Moldof and plans to file a formal complaint of excessive force against the police force. Moldof commented to WSVN:

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.

Dennis says her trust with local police has been broken and that she “no longer feels safe in the area:”

I’m angry. I would never expect this to happen

H/T – Buzzfeed, GQ