MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - A Miami-Dade Police officer who was seen on video striking a woman at Miami International Airport will be terminated.
Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredo Ramirez announced the news Thursday afternoon.
“As a result of an administrative investigation into the officer’s conduct during this incident; it is my intent to proceed with the termination of the involved officer’s employment with the Miami-Dade Police Department,” Ramirez said. “The MDPD holds itself accountable for its actions, and this is just another example of our commitment to do just that.”
The termination comes after the release of a video showing an officer, identified as Anthony Rodriguez, striking a woman, identified as 21-year-old Paris Anderson, during an incident at the American Airlines booking desk, Wednesday.
Officials said Anderson was yelling and cursing at employees after she was told she was too late to catch her flight to Chicago and needed to take another flight the next day. They accuse the 21-year-old of walking behind the counter and threatening employees, and they told Anderson she would get her money back, but she was not welcome to fly on the airline.
According to the arrest report, Rodriguez told Anderson she needed to get her bags, but the situation got worse.
Authorities said in the report that Anderson “aggressively approached this officer, violating this officer’s personal space, bumped this officer with her body and struck this officer with her head on the chin.”
Rodriguez responded by apparently striking her in the face and taking her into custody.
Police said Anderson continued yelling and spitting on the way to and while in the back of the patrol car before being taken to jail.
Steadman Stahl, the president of the South Florida Police Benevolent Association, believes Rodriguez should keep his job because his training kicked in.
“Who touches who first? She walks into him, and then, presses her face into his face,” Stahl said. “The officer reacts. He does a distractive strike, puts her in handcuffs and takes her to jail. That officer had seconds, a second, to make a decision on what’s happening, and this COVID-19 is dangerous, and she’s in his face with no mask yelling and spitting on him.”
Stahl added that Anderson’s actions should be looked at closer.
“We’ve only seen the video that’s been released out on social media, where the lady is clearly the aggressor,” he said. “She leans into him. She’s in his face wearing no mask. I think the question is ‘Could it have been handled differently?’ I don’t know.”
Meanwhile, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez called the officer’s response excessive use of force.
“Look, when I first saw it, obviously, it was uncalled for,” Gimenez said. “We need to apologize to the lady that was struck by the officer, and Miami-Dade County deeply apologizes for that.”
However, Stahl believes the investigation into the incident is going too fast.
“It seems the director has already made up his mind that he’s going to terminate him without even hearing from the officer, his version of it,” he said.
Anderson faces charges of battery on a police officer and disorderly conduct and has since bonded out of jail.
Rodriguez has served the Miami-Dade Police Department for 31 years.
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