The Miami Beach Police Department's brass probably winces anytime they hear the words "You Tube" these days. After this past year -- when their cops were caught on tape killing a Memorial Day Weekend visitor and speeding recklessly around South Beach -- amateur video is a recipe for MBPD heartburn.
The latest video, though, isn't quite so clear-cut. It does show a Beach cop punching a handcuffed Spring Breaker in the face. But it also shows police dangerously surrounded by heckling, drunken visitors. Judge for yourself:
The video was shot on March 17 on South Beach, according to the video's uploader.
CBS4 talked to MBPD's chief, Ray Martinez, about the video. He tells the station that the man in blue shorts threw something at officers as they patrolled the rowdy Spring Break crowd.
When the man allegedly tried to resist after being handcuffed, he was hit with a "distraction blow" -- a punch/open-handed strike combo police are taught to use in such situations, Martinez tells the station.
Miami Beach City Manager Jorge Gonzalez also tells CBS4 that the video doesn't seem to show cops breaking any rules.
"It appears this use of force was within our policies practices and procedures," he says.
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"You need to look at it in context and the person is not exactly cooperating with the police department and there seems to be a crowd that is forming around the officers, so they need to take the actions they need to take to ensure the safety of everybody including themselves."