Broward County

Teen Girl Testifies Against Fired Broward Deputy On Trial For Child Abuse

Former BSO deputy Willard Miller is on trial for child abuse

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A teenage girl who was slammed to the floor by a school resource officer faced the former Broward deputy in court at his child abuse trial Tuesday.

Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony ultimately fired Willard Miller for grabbing the then-15-year-old by the neck, throwing her down on her back, turning her over and handcuffing her.

“I think I said [expletive]” at the deputy “because he scared the heck out of me by putting me in handcuffs," she testified Tuesday.

The incident was recorded by surveillance cameras in a time-out room at the Cross Creek school in Pompano Beach on Sept. 25, 2019. 

The K-12 school is for students with behavioral and emotional issues.

The teenager was being questioned about a vape pen and its contents at the time. 

School security officer Raymond Higgins testified it was a safety issue. They were trying to deal with a significant rise in the use of vape pens by students and were concerned about the vaping of illegal substances.

Higgins was in another room at the school watching the security camera video on his laptop.

While Miller was on his cellphone in the time-out room with his back to her, the teenager tapped the back of his knee with her foot causing his leg to buckle and momentarily lose balance.

The teenager repeatedly claimed in court that she didn’t kick Miller.

"A kick is full-force and a tap is gentle," she testified. "I don't know why I did it."

She said Miller hesitated, then reacted.

"He grabbed me by the neck," she testified. "He grabbed me by the back and then the front."

The teenager is petite and stands about five feet tall. 

She sat slumped in the witness box, long hair in her face, frequently unresponsive, claiming not to remember anything, and asking for water and bathroom breaks as both sides tried coaxing answers out of her.

She is not being named for this story because she is a juvenile.

The surveillance video had no audio so no cursing or yelling could be heard.

The trial is scheduled to continue Wednesday.

In addition to the criminal trial, Miller and the Broward Sheriff's Office are also named in a civil lawsuit.

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