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A Miami-Dade County police officer was relieved of duty after he was caught on camera punching a Black woman during a heated encounter at Miami International Airport.

Antonio Clemente Rodriguez initially claimed the woman "headbutted" him before he subdued her and took her into custody. The charge and the woman's identity are unknown.

According to police, the woman complained loudly that she missed her flight and a ticket agent called police.

The video, which was uploaded to Facebook on Wednesday, shows a Black woman arguing with a masked cop. She then stepped into his personal space and said, "You acting like you white when you really Black... What you want to do?"

Rodriguez, who is mixed with Black and Puerto Rican, is seen punching the woman and restraining her on police body cam.
 

The president of the Miami-Dade County Police Benevolent Association defended Rodriguez in a statement. He said the woman was "clearly" the aggressor, and Rodriguez was merely defending himself when he struck her with an "open hand slap," which is referred to as a "diversionary strike".

"Clearly she was the aggressor. She was being asked to leave. She's being belligerent and she pushes her face right into his face," PBA President Steadman Stahl told the Miami Herald.

But after carefully reviewing the video, county officials condemned the officer's actions.

"I am shocked and angered by a body cam video that I just saw involving one of our officers," Miami-Dade police Director Alfredo Ramirez said in a statement on Twitter.

"I've immediately initiated an investigation and ordered that the involved officers be relieved of duty."

"This is appalling," Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giminez tweeted on Wednesday.

"It's excessive use of force and unnecessary. That's NOT what our @MiamiDadePD are trained to do. @MDPD_Director Ramirez has ordered the officer relieved of duty & investigation is underway. This is why I instituted body cameras & MDPD is reviewing all footage."