Antonio Rodriguez, a Miami-Dade police officer, was removed from duty in July 2020 after he was captured on body camera video waylaying a tiny lady in the face. What was the woman's crime? "You behaving like you're white," he taunted the cop. Rodriguez has been paid back pay and acquitted of all accusations more than a year after going viral and losing his job, and the department has justified the strike as a "distraction."
According to the Miami Herald, the decision not to charge Rodriguez was made in a final letter issued Tuesday by the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office.
The event occurred in June 2020 at Miami International Airport. The two were having a conversation when the lady became enraged and began insulting him.
"You're portraying yourself as white when you're really black...
What are your intentions?" the lady inquires.
Paris Anderson, who is not wearing a mask, then jumps in the officer's face just as he is about to administer a haymaker to her skull.
"She headbutted me," he adds as cops rush in to apprehend her.
According to The Herald:
According to the report, the decision not to prosecute Rodriguez with misdemeanour violence was made on Oct. 1, more than a year after the MIA incident. Prosecutors said Rodriguez's slap was a "justifiable use of force" under Florida's self-defence legislation after the lady got in the officer's face, taunted him, and her forehead "may have brushed" his chin region.
The agency classified the slap as a "distraction strike" intended to subdue the lady and determined that there is insufficient evidence to indict the officer.
At the time, Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez spoke out, calling the officer's conduct "appalling" and an "excessive use of force." We're curious whether he'll retract that comment now that the officer's use of a "distraction" was authorised.
This is heinous. This is excessive and unwarranted use of force. That is NOT the job of our @MiamiDadePD officers. @MDPD Director Ramirez has removed the officer off duty and an inquiry has been launched. This is why I implemented body cameras and the MDPD is evaluating all surveillance video. https://t.co/KHDsEohBym
July 2, 2020 — Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez (@MayorGimenez)
This is heinous. This is excessive and unwarranted use of force. That is NOT the job of our @MiamiDadePD officers. @MDPD Director Ramirez has removed the officer off duty and an inquiry has been launched. This is why I implemented body cameras and the MDPD is evaluating all surveillance video.
Naturally, Steadman Stahl, head of the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association, disagrees with the mayor and top officer and blames the lady for being struck by the cop.
Stahl said that the officer handled the lady with an "open-hand slap," also known as a "diversionary strike."
"Without a doubt, she was the aggressor. She was being escorted out. "She is hostile, and she thrusts her face directly into his," Stahl said.
Rodriguez has subsequently collected nearly a year's salary for not working a single day.
Anderson was never prosecuted for any crime.
Consider if this officer was attempting to "divert" this woman's attention or just snapping and hitting her as you view the video below. We believe the latter is the case.
#BREAKING: A officer from @MiamiDadePD strikes a female passenger at Miami International Airport @iflymia #BecauseMiami image from Twitter: https://twitter.com/KnAVipZKtb
July 2, 2020 — Billy Corben (@BillyCorben)
If the officer had approached the lady and she had punched him in the face, would Stahl still describe her conduct as "diversionary"