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‘Let It Go': Video Shows Miami Cop De-Escalating Tense Situation

Body camera footage shows officer intervening in tense encounter involving another officer

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A Miami Police officer is receiving praise after a body camera video showed her de-escalating a tense situation with a fellow officer.

The incident involving Officers Kassandra Mercado and Jason Vasquez happened in 2020 but the footage was only just released.

Police had stopped a man and taken him into custody when Vasquez responded to a call from assistance from other officers.

As Vasquez arrived at the scene, the man, who was claiming he too was a law enforcement officer, became upset that he was being taken into custody.

Suddenly, things were escalated between the man's friends and Vasquez, who was wearing a body camera.

"Trust me when I tell you this dog, don’t let this badge fool you. I’m from Little Havana first bro," Vasquez can be heard saying in the video.

That’s when Mercado steps in.

"Let it go, let it go. Listen to me," she tells Vasquez, who continues talking to the friends.

"I’ll run up on you. Let’s see what up," he says.

"That’s it. Just squash it. Let it go," Mercado says as she moves Vasquez back.

Mercado's actions are in line with Miami Police Department Directives and a section of Florida law on use of force and when an officer has a duty to intervene.

"The duty to intervene in another officer’s excessive use of force, which must require an on-duty officer who observes another officer engaging or attempting to engage in excessive use of force to intervene to end the excessive use of force or attempted excessive use of force when such intervention is reasonable based on the totality of the circumstances and the observing officer may intervene without jeopardizing his or her own health or safety," the law reads, in part.

Rodney Jacobs, with the Miami Civilian Investigative Panel, praised Mercado's actions.

"The main thing is that we all saw in the videos was that she intervened in a way that really deescalated the situation," Jacobs said. "She really stepped in between the officer and the community members in a way that wasn’t forceful, wasn’t demeaning, wasn’t disrespectful, didn’t put the officers on scene in additional harm."

Jacobs said the panel had received a complaint about Vasquez and during their probe discovered what Mercado did.

"We felt that her actions really avoided a bad situation, a situation that could have been more volatile," Jacobs said.

The investigative panel cited Vasquez for misconduct and for being discourteous.

In a statement Thursday, Interim Chief of Police Manuel Morales said he personally called Mercado to thank her for a job well done after learning of the encounter.

"This is the type of behavior that is expected of officers who serve at The Miami Police Department, and her actions are to be recognized as it serves as an example of professional policing," Morales said in the statement.

NBC 6 reached out to the police union about the incident, but hasn't heard back.

Mercado is second female officer in South Florida who has been praised for stepping in and stopping a tense situation.

Last week, video was released of a female Sunrise officer who took a sergeant by his belt to remove him from a confrontation with a person in the back of a police car, but he responded by putting his hand on her throat.

That sergeant is now under investigation.

"What I think it is is a trend in policing to show that a lot of the women officers that are on the force come in with a different perspective, with a different mindset and want to make sure no one is tarnishing the reputation of police and I think it's good," Jacobs said.

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