MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The director of the Miami-Dade Police Department has announced his “intent to proceed with the termination” of the officer seen on video striking a woman at Miami International Airport.

Officer Anthony Rodriguez was first relieved of duty while the department reviewed the footage made public by local filmmaker Billy Corben.

Rodriguez was one of the responding officers called to the American Airlines desk on Tuesday, June 30th, due to a disturbance involving a passenger.

The woman, identified as Paris S. Anderson, 21, was behind the rebooking counter and had been threatening employees, police said.

Upon arrival, police said they observed Anderson yelling obscenities at American Airlines employees.

The arrest report said an officer approached the rebooking counter and contacted Anderson. He then proceeded to walk the defendant away from the ticket counter in order to talk to Anderson.

The service center supervisor, Jose Roman, advised police that Anderson arrived at the gate late for a flight to Chicago and was denied boarding.

Anderson became upset when she was told that the next available flight would not be until the following day.

Roman told police that Anderson went behind the rebooking counter to retrieve her boarding pass and when she was told that she wasn’t allowed to be there she began to threaten and curse the employees.

Roman then told Anderson that she would not travel with American Airlines and that her fare would be reimbursed.

The arrest report said Anderson became belligerent when she was told to gather her belongings and began to yell obscenities at which time she said, referring to Roman, “I should go over there and punch him in his face.”

Paris Anderson

Paris Anderson (TGK)

The report also said that Anderson was told again to gather her belongings so that she could be escorted. That was when Anderson aggressively approached the officer, identified as Rodriguez, “violating this officer’s personal space, bumped this officer with her body and struck this officer with her head on the chin while screaming, ‘What are you going to do.’ The officer immediately took a step back, struck Anderson on her left side of the face with an open hand.”

Legal documents say Anderson was taken to the floor, where she was taken into custody.

Police said Anderson was continuously yelling and turning back towards the officers as she was taken to the police car.

Additionally, police said, that the arresting “officer felt spittle emanating from Ms. Anderson’s mouth. Ms. Anderson was not wearing a face covering as she continued to turn around and yell, additional spittle came into the direction of the officers.”

The arrest report said the officer needed to forcibly grab her by the hair and keep her face pointing forward, in an effort to control her from continuing to spit in the area of the officers.

The report goes on to say that Anderson began to spit all over the protective shield and the backseat of the patrol car.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue were called after Anderson complained of shortness of breath upon arrival at the police station, but Anderson refused treatment.

Anderson was transported to the Turner Guilford Correctional Center.

 

Now the focus has turned on Officer Rodriguez’s use of force, which Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez apologized for.

“Look, when I first saw it, obviously it was uncalled for and I need apologize, we need to apologize to the lady that was struck by the officer. Miami-Dade County deeply apologizes for that,” said Mayor Gimenez. “The actions of the officer excessive use of force, cannot be condoned and swift action will be taken against this officer.”

The president of the South Florida Police Benevolent Association said Rodriguez blames Anderson for being “very aggressive.”

“Obviously, she was very aggressive. The officer takes a couple of steps back, she walks into him and walks into this face and does a diversionary strike and he takes her into custody. It was an open-handed slap. If it was a punch, I don’t believe she would have been standing,” said Steadman Stahl, president of South Florida Police Benevolent Association.

Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredo Ramirez said he “shocked and angered by a body cam video.” As a result, he ordered an investigation into Officer Rodriguez, while relieving him of duty.

It took less than a day for Ramirez to decide to terminate Rodriguez’s employment with the department. He released the following statement:

“As a result of an administrative investigation into the officer’s conduct during this incident; it is my intent to proceed with the termination of the involved officer’s employment with the Miami-Dade Police Department. The administrative process to proceed with termination has been initiated.

“The MDPD holds itself accountable for its actions, and this is just another example of our commitment to do just that.”

The state attorney’s office public corruption unit is on the case.

“I am angered when I see abusive or improper conduct by a police officer,” said Miami-Dade State Attorney Kathy Fernandez Rundle.

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