Chief, Lawmakers Call Deputy's Window Smashing ‘Troubling'

Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Two state lawmakers say a Florida deputy used unnecessary force by smashing a woman's window, making her bleed from her face, after she stopped alongside a group of demonstrators protesting police abuse and later refused orders to get out of her car.

Body-camera video released by the Orange County Sheriff's Office in Orlando shows Wednesday's incident, which caught the attention of protesters who shouted at deputies, “What did she do?"

The video shows the deputy pulling the woman over in a nearby parking lot, where he shouts, "Get out of the car!"

When the woman asks why through her partially rolled-down driver's side window, the deputy says “Do you want to go to jail? Seriously? Either get out of the car or you're going to jail."

The deputy later explains that she had committed a traffic violation by stopping next to demonstrators in the street. The woman says she wasn't doing anything wrong.

“Your choice. I'm trying to be nice," the deputy says, then reaches through her window to open the door. The woman tells him to stop and rolls up the window on his arm. He then smashes it with his baton, shattering the glass before handcuffing her and putting her in a squad car.

"I'm bleeding, I need an ambulance," she later repeats, spitting blood from her mouth onto the pavement after he calls to get her medical help.

The woman had minor cuts, according to sheriff's office officials, who also said the car had lurched forward.

Sheriff John Mina described the incident as “troubling," at a news conference on Thursday, adding that an internal inquiry had been opened.

Two Democratic state lawmakers from Orlando, Rep. Carlos Smith and Rep. Anna Eskamani, criticized the deputy. Smith called it “disgusting behavior" in a tweet, saying the deputy “unnecessarily escalates the situation from 0 to 1000 in seconds over a stupid traffic violation."

The deputy remains on patrol and the sheriff's office is reviewing whether battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting an officer without violence charges will be filed, the sheriff's office said.

Demonstrators in Florida and around the world have held daily protests against racism and police brutality following the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.

Hundreds of protesters gathered in Miami's arts district of Wynwood on Friday, and authorities shut down several roads, including the main highway artery near downtown Miami.

The movement was also joined Friday by Jacksonville's NFL team. A large group of Jaguars players, coaches, front-office officials and their families wore Black Lives Matter T-shirts as they walked from TIAA Bank Field to the sheriff’s headquarters to “raise awareness for racial injustices against the Black community.”

The group included players Joshua Dobbs, Brandon Linder and Josh Lambo. General Manager Dave Caldwell and Head Coach Doug Marrone also attended. At the police headquarters, they were joined by former Jaguar Ernest Wilford, now an officer at the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

“For many Americans, now is the moment. Never has that been clearer," the team said in a Facebook post.


AP writer Freida Frisaro contributed to this report from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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