Coral Springs Police are defending the actions of an officer seen hitting a 14-year-old girl during an arrest, saying the viral cellphone video doesn't show the whole story.
Video posted to Instagram Friday night appears to show the arrest of a 14-year-old girl outside Coral Springs Mall. The video begins with the 14-year-old being pinned down by two officers, one man, one woman. The male officer can be seen striking the 14-year-old twice as he pulls at her shorts.
"Why are you hitting her?" a person can be heard screaming in the video. "She can't do that, her hands underneath her, the f*** you hitting her for?"
In a statement posted to Facebook, the Coral Springs Police Department said the video does not show the entire incident that led to the 14-year-old's arrest.
Police say the incident began when officers were called out to Coral Springs Mall about reports of a group of unruly teens who had been harassing people and causing a disturbance. Officers met with mall security where a mother told them about one of the teens shoving her 5-year-old child to the ground. Mall security also told officers one of the teens had assaulted another teenager there.
Coral Springs officers found the teenage and issued a trespassing warning to them, barring them from the mall.
However, police say the teenagers soon returned to the mall, where one a boy was taken into custody without incident. Police say the girl seen being arrested in the video began cursing at officers, and attempted to rile up the other teenagers there.
When officers attempted to take the 14-year-old into custody, she began to fight and resist arrest. The statement from the police department said that's when the officers took the girl to the ground, because of "her stature and aggressive behavior" and tried to get her to release her fists.
"As seen in the video she resisted arrest, and in order to have her to comply she was struck in the side to release her clenched fists - she was then handcuffed," the Coral Springs Police Department said the the statement posted to Facebook.
"The Coral Springs Police Department believes in transparency," the department's statement read. "It is important for people to have all of the facts before rushing to judgment of an officer's actions when faced with calls for service involving violent suspects -- regardless of their age or gender."
The girl's mother, Jessica Dennis, said at a news conference that the officer went "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 said.
The Coral Springs Police Department says they are not investigating the incident, but that could change if Dennis decides to file a complaint.