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Florida police can be heard laughing and cursing after firing rubber bullets and tear-gas canisters at demonstrators during a chaotic May protest for George Floyd in newly released footage.

The video from Fort Lauderdale police officers’ body cameras was initially obtained by the Miami Herald as part of a public records request. The paper published about two and a half minutes of the footage in its report Wednesday detailing the May 31 clash between police and protesters.


At one point in the video, Detective Zachary Baro, who was leading the department’s SWAT team unit, can be heard saying, “Beat it, little f—–” after rubber bullets are fired at a protester who tossed a gas canister back at officers.

Fort Lauderdale police released the full 8-minute, 43-second-long video recorded by Baro’s body-worn camera later Wednesday in response to the report.

“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,” Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione said in a statement. “Although the language is extreme, and offensive to some, our officers were dealing with the chaos of a developing situation.”

Police are seen in the video firing rubber bullets at a protester who threw a gas canister back at officers during the protest on May 31.
(Fort Lauderdale Police Department)

The video also shows an officer approaching Baro behind the police line and asking if his body camera is off. Baro replies incorrectly that his camera is in stand-by mode and not recording. The two officers appear to laugh and joke about the people they shot with rubber bullets.

“Did you see me f— up those mother——-?” one officer said. The other replied, “I got the one f—.”

In an incident report, Baro said protesters were throwing large rocks, fireworks, smoke bombs and water bottles “containing an unknown yellow liquid,” according to the paper. Another officer wrote that he was hit by a half-stick of dynamite.

Fort Lauderdale police released nearly nine minutes of bodycam footage in response to a report on officers’ actions after firing rubber bullets at protesters on May 31.
(Fort Lauderdale Police Department)

The release of the video comes amid nationwide protests against police brutality, with demonstrators calling on leaders to “defund the police” and increase the accountability of law enforcement officers.

Maglione said the department is reviewing nearly 8,000 minutes of body-worn camera footage from the May 31 incident, adding that the exchange reported by the paper is part of that review.

An after-action report is expected to be completed within the next 30 days, he said.

A Fort Lauderdale police officer was charged with battery Tuesday for an incident during that same protest after video showed he pushed a kneeling woman to the ground.

A demonstrator, LaToya Ratlieff, was shot in the face with a rubber bullet during the protest, suffering a fractured skull and requiring 20 stitches.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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