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A Florida police department is investigating officers who joked on camera about the protesters they shot with rubber bullets.
Body-worn camera footage obtained by the Miami Herald shows officers with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department (FLPD) shooting rubber bullets towards protesters during an anti-brutality protest on May 31 and then making jokes.
One officer is heard shouting, "Beat it, little fucker," to a protester who appears to be hit after picking up a tear gas canister and throwing it back in the direction of police. At one point, another officer asks if the body-worn camera is on and then laughs that he "plugged his ass three fucking times."
In a statement released this week, FLPD Chief Rick Maglione says that a longer video "clearly demonstrates our officers were under attack by a group of people who chose to use violence instead of peace to antagonize the situation." Maglione also says the officers were "dealing with the chaos of a developing situation."
FLPD has been criticized for its conduct during the May 31 protest. The department said it was fending off violent agitators in a city garage, but video and photos from the protest do not appear to back this version of events. The protesters appear to have remained peaceful until an officer was seen shoving a kneeling protester. Another police officer quickly stepped in to reprimand him and protesters began to throw water bottles in his direction. The situation escalated when more officers arrived on the scene. One protester was hit with a rubber bullet and suffered a fractured eye socket.
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