Body cam shows Tampa police officer taunting bystanders, curses at them after arrest
Outrage is bubbling over newly-released body camera video showing a Tampa Police officer cursing at and "taunting" bystanders following a narcotics arrest.
Officer Dukagjin Maxhuni and others made the arrest outside of a store at the corner of North 15th Street and East 26th Avenue in June 2022.
The video shows Maxhuni charging at the suspect and assisting in taking him down. Then, while other officers cuff the suspect, his attention turns to the bystanders.
"That was one hell of a flying knee from me, guys!" he shouted at the bystanders. "You should have seen it! You should have seen it! It's on body camera. It's good. I'll show it to you!"
He continues to pace the surrounding area, calling out to bystanders. "Hey, hey, you're not going to do anything! What are you gonna do? What are you gonna do? What are you gonna do?"
"Motherf*ckers need to know who runs these g*ddamn streets. It ain't y'all," Maxhuni is heard saying in the video.
The video was seen by leaders at the Tampa Police Department.
Chief Lee Bercaw released the following statement about the incident:
“The officers’ actions and statements were unacceptable and failed to treat the community with the dignity and respect that is the standard of the Tampa Police Department. We have a system in place to flag behavior not consistent with our code of conduct. In this situation, it worked.
"An internal audit identified the behavior, and an investigation was immediately launched back in 2022. The officer was disciplined and removed from his squad and the neighborhood he served. This type of behavior will not be tolerated. The Tampa Police Department will continue to hold all officers to the highest possible standard, as it’s what our community expects and deserves.”
However, Hillsborough NAACP President Yvette Lewis said the officer's punishment doesn't go far enough.
"He was moved from one district to the other district. That's it. That's a slap on the wrist. Unacceptable," Lewis said.
Lewis said encounters like this make it difficult for her community to trust police.
"I have worked extremely hard, bridging the gap between law enforcement and the African-American community. And this gentleman here has pushed it all back. And the administration. They sat on their hands and did nothing," she said.
"People are frustrated with this whole process and what happened. People feel like they have been let down by the Tampa Police Department. And I know it's not all police officers. But one makes a difference. One makes a difference."
Now, she's calling for better vetting and training of officers.
"We need officers that care. We need to know that we're safe. We need to know that they understand us, and we understand them," Lewis added.