Detective Zachary Baro thought his body cam was in standby mode while he and Officer Jamie Chatman laughed about “f***[ing] up those motherf***ers” after firing tear gas and rubber bullets at protestors in Ft. Lauderdale. Now, the released video shows how these officers discuss protestors — citizens exercising constitutional rights — when they believe no one is listening.
The Miami Herald adds some context to the series of events, saying that on officer rushing into a crowd pushed a woman who was kneeling, and protestors responded by throwing plastic bottles. Police then further escalated with tear gas and rubber bullets.
In the video, a protestor can be seen throwing one of the gas canisters back into the general vicinity of the officers, who are wearing masks to protect against inhaling the substance. The man turns and begins walking away. Still, the officers begin firing on him again, as he runs in the opposite direction.
Afterwards, two officers, since identified as Detecitve Zachary Baro and Officer Jamie Chatman, discuss the events. Chatman asks if Baro’s body cam is running, and Baro assures him its on standby, before they laugh about the events, boasting about firing on the protestors, who they refer to as “f***ers.”
Attorney Ben Crump, who is currently representing the family of George Floyd, took note, saying that the video showed how police really felt about protestors.
“Did you see me f**k up those motherf****rs?” Fort Lauderdale officers Zachary Baro and Jamie Chatman thought their body cams weren’t recording. Thankfully they were WRONG — and now we know how they actually feel about protestors. pic.twitter.com/ntMVJ6ZR1P
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) July 2, 2020
The Ft. Lauderdale police released a response, saying that the clip is taken out of context, and that the language is “offensive to some” but arose from “the chaos of a developing situation.” The statement does not address whether an officer’s camera should have been on standby, or whether he should have expected it to be on standby, during said developing situation.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com