The ranking Broward County, Fl., sheriff’s officer shown on a training tape in which deputies made fun of protesters at a free trade summit has apologized but said his deputies did not violate department policy, reports the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “The comments were inappropriate and unprofessional and I shouldn’t have made them,” said Major John Brooks. The tape was a training video made during and after protests that took place during the 2003 Free Trade Area of the Americas summit in Miami.
A day after demonstrators clashed with police, the training tape captured Brooks discussing the confrontation with his riot gear-clad troops. One deputy handed him a black cloth that could have been a hood or facemask “from one of the scurrying cockroaches,” the deputy said, referring to the protesters. “This is going in my office forever,” Brooks replied, “and it’s going to bring some very good memories.” Referring to one demonstrator, an officer said, “You see that lady with the red dress? I don’t know who got her, but when it went through the sign it hit her smack dab in the middle of the head.” A report issued by Miami’s Civilian Investigative Panel found that police didn’t communicate well, made unreasonable arrests, and used non-lethal weapons incorrectly while trying to control crowds during the protests.