MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) — A Miami Beach police officer has been relieved of duty and is facing disciplinary action after appearing in a social media video that appears to show him faking the arrest of three scantily clad women and marching them to the front door of police headquarters.
On Tuesday morning, Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Clements said, “After further review of the circumstances surrounding these videos, I have relieved Officer William Beeker of duty pending the outcome of our internal investigation.”
CBS4’s Peter D’Oench showed the video to more than a dozen tourists and residents on Miami Beach and they all shared the same sentiments that the Police Chief had made a wise decision.
“The video does not give a good impression of this area and what goes around here,” said Janet Lewis, a tourist from London. Her husband Jamie said “It is a bit degrading. Surely the police have better things to do.”
Inside the 11th St. Diner on Washington Avenue and across the street from the police department, New York tourist Lydia Wheelock said, “The only thing that concerns me about the police officer is that he was doing this on municipal time playing a joke.” Fellow tourist Sadie McGillicuty said, “I wouldn’t want my brother doing that, or a police officer doing that. Anyone who does that has a power issue or something.”
Ray Schnitzer, the owner of the 11th St. Diner, said, “I don’t have a problem with that per se. But they should be focused on more pressing issues in this neighborhood.
Miami Beach resident Leslie Lanza said, “They don’t respect women. That’s what I think.” Another Miami Beach resident of 21 years, Glenn Davis, said “I think this was ridiculous and it was unfortunate that this sort of thing went public. If it’s fake, it’s a waste of money and time. Unfortunately it’s the city a bad image.”
“These videos are highly offensive,” stated Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy L. Morales. “It is disgusting that a representative of the Miami Beach Police Department, and the City as a whole, would choose to participate in this distasteful video. He has made a mockery of the men and women of the MBPD who work hard each day to serve and protect our community and fight heinous acts such as human trafficking and other sexual crimes. We will not tolerate such behavior in our community.”
It’s unclear when the video was taken but it showed up on Instagram, apparently posted by one of the women in the video.
Officer Beeker is seen escorting three handcuffed women, dressed in lingerie, to the front doors of department headquarters.
The women were not under arrest when this video was shot.
Later the officer is seen on an ATV talking to the women and the video caption reads, “We ended up being good girls.”
Julie Annee posted on social media, “Guys I had no idea we could get the officer in trouble. I want to sincerely apologize for my poor judgement and hope they don’t actually fire him in taking part of a innocent video that was a joke.”
Miami Beach police released a short statement about the video that reads, “Monday, October 7th, the department was made aware of a video posted to social media. Chief Richard Clements immediately launched an internal affairs investigation and placed Officer William Beeker on an administrative capacity while the investigation takes its course.”
Internal affairs is investigating.
Officer Beeker has been with the MBPD for 11 years.
Beeker has been in the news before.
On Feb. 7, 2013, CBS4 reported that two sisters from Toronto claimed that Beeker and another officer assaulted them and insulted them with profane comments while they were being arrested for resisting arrest without violence and disorderly intoxication just before the prior Christmas.
Surveillance tape showed the Canadian sisters, Michele and Angelina Mastrangelo, jumping up and down after their arrest. At the time, Police Chief Raymond Martinez said the charges were investigated thoroughly and were unfounded.
CBS4 reached out to the police union that represents Beeker, the Miami Beach Fraternal Order of Police, but did not hear back.