Disturbing surveillance video obtained by CBS Miami shows a Florida police officer using excessive force on a teenaged mentally disabled girl.
During the video, a Pembroke Pines police officer is seen grabbing a 14 year old mentally ill girl from behind. In response, the girl twists and attempts to hit the officer, then the officer punches the girl square in the face. The officer uses full force to punch the teen, then other officers wrestle the teen to the ground and mace her.
“It was shocking to see the amount of violence that occurred. It was shocking,” said Assistant Broward County Public Defender Jeff Hittlemen.
Surveillance video of the incident reportedly came from Citrus Health System treatment center for mentally disturbed adolescents on April 28th. The mental health facility treats mentally ill children, many of whom are placed there by the Florida’s Department of Children and Families.
Gordon Weekes, Jr., Broward’s Chief Assistant Public Defender, said officers didn’t respond appropriately.
“They are acting out in their mental illness,” Weekes said, “And to draw off and strike a child in the face with enough force to try to knock her head off is nothing more than an excessive use of force.”
Officers were reportedly called to the mental facility to deal with a “riot”.
The public defender’s office says this is not an isolated incident and that they have uncovered excessive use of force and use of chemicals to subdue mentally disturbed children at the Pembroke Pines facility.
Dr. Michael Jochananov, the facility’s director, declined to speak about the incident on camera.
The Agency for Healthcare Administration and the Pembroke Pines police department are investigating the allegations of abuse.
Watch the video: