MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – A video showing a Miami Gardens police officer throwing a 16-year-old girl to the ground near Carol City Middle School was making the rounds on social media Thursday.
While the girl's relative claims the video shows the officer using excessive force, the police chief released a statement Thursday afternoon asking the public not to rush to judgment.
The unidentified officer was called to reports of a fight April 18 outside of St. Monica Catholic Church. A relative said the officer was mistaken when he believed the girl touched an officer, saying she was, in fact, reaching for her friend.
"My heart was broken. I could not believe this happened," said a relative, who did not want to be identified out of fear of reprisal. "She's on the fence, and the next thing, he picks her up and body slams her. He's like three times bigger than she is."
The Miami Gardens Police Department is investigating the incident.
"The investigation will include a review of all actions, to include those of the officer and the individual, who was arrested," Miami Gardens Police Chief Delma Noel-Pratt said. "We are asking that the public not rush to judgment, as these incidents must be fully investigated to ensure fairness to everyone involved."
Local 10 News reporter Todd Tongen asked the girl's relative if the officer's actions would have been an appropriate use of force on a man.
"Yeah, not on a child," she said.
Meanwhile, the girl's relative said she's happy police are investigating the matter.
"He needs to probably have his head checked out for a little bit," she said.