Body camera footage shows Fort Lauderdale police officers laughing after shooting at Black Lives Matter protesters with rubber bullets, the Miami Herald reported.Officers Zachary Baro and Jamie Chatman can be heard calling the protesters “f—ers,” with one officer saying, “Did you see me f— up those motherf—ers?” according to the Herald report.Former police officers condemned the officers’ conduct, deeming it “inappropriate” and “unprofessional.””They shouldn’t be laughing and joking about shooting and potentially hurting people,” a former deputy chief of police told the Herald. “It reinforces the public’s distrust of the police. It shouldn’t be tolerated.”Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione told the Herald in a statement that the Herald report only “shows less than three minutes of an eight-minute and 43-second long video.””Although the language is extreme and offensive to some, our officers were dealing with the chaos of a developing situation,” Maglione continued.Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Two Fort Lauderdale police officers laughed and derided Black Lives Matter protesters after shooting them with rubber bullets at a demonstration on May 31, body camera footage obtained by the Miami Herald showed.The officers can be heard calling the protesters “f—ers” and laughing about shooting them with non-lethal projectiles, citing hours of footage provided to The Herald from the Fort Lauderdale Police Department following a public records request.Detective Zachary Baro, who leads a Fort Lauderdale SWAT team unit, could be heard saying “Beat it, little f—er,” in response to officers shooting the non-lethal projectiles at a protester who threw a tear gas canister back at police, according to The Herald.He is later approached by another officer, Jamie Chatman, who asked Baro if his body camera is off, to which Baro said his camera was in “standby-mode” and thought it was not recording.
The men are then heard laughing and having the following exchange, but it is not immediately clear who said each line:”Did you see me f— up those motherf—ers?” one officer said.”I got the one f—er,” the other replied.Robert Drago, who formerly served as a lieutenant colonel at the Broward Sheriff’s Office before retiring, slammed the exchange between Baro and Chatman, calling their statements “inappropriate” and “unprofessional.”
“It’s not a carnival. This isn’t hit-three-times-and-get-a-stuffed-animal,” Drago told The Herald. “It doesn’t seem like these officers had public safety in mind at all.”Philip Sweeting, former deputy chief of police in Boca Raton, also calling their conduct “unprofessional.””They shouldn’t be laughing and joking about shooting and potentially hurting people,” Sweeting told The Herald. “It reinforces the public’s distrust of the police. It shouldn’t be tolerated.”Former police officer George Kirkham shared a similar sentiment as Drago and Sweeting in response to the conversation.
“This is serious misconduct. This is people with badges acting like thugs,” Kirkham told the Herald. “It’s like a cancer. If you let it go, it will spread.”Kirkham suggested Baro and other officers should be subject to an internal investigation in light of their conduct in the video footage.”I understand what it’s like to have that adrenaline. I’ve been in a riot situation,” he told The Herald. “But that does not excuse that kind of verbiage and behavior. It suggests that the police think they can do whatever they want and get away with it.”Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione told The Herald in a statement that there was more to the story, and that the report “shows less than three minutes of an eight-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,” Maglione continued. “Although the language is extreme and offensive to some, our officers were dealing with the chaos of a developing situation.”