US Police authorities in Coral Springs, Florida have defended a white male police officer captured on a video clip repeatedly punching a 14-year old African-American girl on her side while she lay face-down on the ground with her hands pinned under her.
Coral Springs Police Department told a local CBS TV station on Saturday that its officers arrested the teen after being dispatched to a nearby shopping mall on Thursday following a complaint that a group of youngsters were reportedly harassing patrons.
Police added in a statement that officers banned the teens from the mall at the request of its security team but they reportedly returned, prompting them to detain the girl shown in video being struck by the male officer because she began to “incite” the others.
"Officers attempted to take her into custody, at which time she began to fight and resist arrest. Due to her stature and aggressive behavior, officers took her to the ground attempting to get her to release her fists," police added in the statement as cited by the TV station.
However, Jessica Dennis, the mother of the beaten teenager, told the station she felt the officer’s actions were "completely overboard."
"Her hands are pinned up, he's fish tailing her whole body with her shorts. It was just too much going on and she clearly wasn't aggressive," Dennis emphasized in news conference as quoted by the station.
“To say that the police officer was justified to punch her continuously while he has his knee on her back and her hands under her belly, the video speaks for itself," said attorney Meeghan Moldof, who represents Dennis’ family, in a statement.
Coral Springs police, however, insist that the video does not tell the entire story.
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