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Fort Lauderdale police officers laugh after shooting rubber bullets at protesters

Nicholas Nehamas and Sarah Blaskey, Miami Herald on

Published in News & Features

MIAMI -- Fort Lauderdale police officers laughed and celebrated after shooting protesters with rubber bullets at a May 31 George Floyd rally in Fort Lauderdale, newly released body camera footage shows.

"Beat it, little f---er," Detective Zachary Baro, leader of a Fort Lauderdale SWAT team unit, can be heard saying after officers shot "less lethal" projectiles at a protester. The protester was walking away after tossing a tear gas canister back at the line of police.

A few minutes later, another officer, Jamie Chatman, came up to Baro behind the police line and asked if his body camera was off. Baro replied -- incorrectly -- that his camera was in "stand-by" mode and not recording. The two officers then began laughing and joking about the people they had shot with rubber bullets.

"Did you see me f--k up those motherf----rs?" one of the officers said.

"I got the one f---er," the other replied amid laughter.

George Kirkham, a former police officer and professor emeritus at Florida State University, condemned the behavior captured on the footage.


"This is serious misconduct. This is people with badges acting like thugs," Kirkham said. "It's like a cancer. If you let it go, it will spread."

Asked for comment, a spokeswoman for the Fort Lauderdale police said the department would have to review the footage.

After publication online, Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione said in a statement to the Herald: "Your story shows less than 3 minutes of an 8 minute and 43 second long video. The entire video clearly demonstrates our officers were under attack by a group of people who chose to use violence instead of peace to antagonize the situation. Although the language is extreme, and offensive to some, our officers were dealing with the chaos of a developing situation."

Maglione did not respond to questions about whether Baro and Chatman had been placed under internal investigation or removed from duty.


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