‘He Was Totally Justified’: PBA On Officer Who Punched Disorderly UM Fan

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The Miami-Dade Police Department is currently reviewing video of a violent altercation between a disorderly University of Miami fan and an officer who was escorting her out of the stadium on Saturday.

The cell phone video captures a jarring image as the Miami-Dade police detective takes a swing at 30-year-old Bridget Freitas as she is carried out of Hard Rock Stadium by four Miami-Dade Police officers.

The video shows her trying to slap one of them and missing but she tries again and hits him. He then appears to punch her in the face. The President of the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association is calling it a case of self-defense.

“Was that punch justified?” CBS4’s Peter D’Oench asked. PBA President John Rivera replied, “Absolutely Peter.” Rivera defends the actions taken by the officer, identified as Detective Ross.

“First and foremost she didn’t attempt. She struck him twice and all he was doing was reacting to her actions. He was totally justified. He stopped that person from hitting him and they moved on.”

Police say officers were called out to Freitas’ section because of a disturbance. They say she was seen arguing with stadium patrons.

“My understanding is that she was fighting another woman. That’s what caused them to respond to that area because they had complaints about this woman fighting people,” said Rivera.

An arrest report states after several attempts to get Freitas to calm down, she sat on the stairs and refused to move. Three officers came to assist. Two tried to pick her up but were not able to. Once all four officers managed to carry her, she lashed out at Ross and he swung back to gain control.

“What’s most important is he struck back in self-defense. If you don’t want to get hit by a cop, don’t hit first,” said Rivera. “It’s just that simple. He was hitting a criminal the moment she struck him. She became a criminal and he was stopping a criminal from hitting further.”

Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta released a statement on Sunday regarding the incident.

“Promoting a safe and secure environment during any special event is our primary concern. After responding to a disturbance, the person in the video was being removed from the event by our officers for being disorderly. She was subsequently arrested for Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer and Disorderly Conduct/Breach of the peace. Supervisory personnel are aware of the video and are reviewing the incident to ensure compliance with our policies and procedures.”

“Here you have an adult, you need to act like an adult,” said Rivera.

CBS4 News has also learned this is not the first time Freitas has been arrested following a fight.

A records check shows Fort Lauderdale police charged her with Disorderly Conduct and Trespassing in 2010. In 2012, Pembroke Pines police arrested her for Battery and causing Bodily Harm and Domestic Violence.

CBS4 News tried to contact Freitas at her home but no one was there. We’ve also called, texted and left messages but there has been no response.

A police report said she was apparently under the influence of alcohol.

Police will study the video to make sure officers complied with their policies and procedures.

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