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Fla. cop: Sorry for joking about woman shot in head

The Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida- A high-ranking sheriff's officer apologized Wednesday for insensitive comments he and other officers made about demonstrators after a free-trade summit in 2003 in Miami.

The comments wound up in a police-training video produced a day later. The video shows Maj. John Brooks and other officers praising each other for shooting protesters with rubber bullets.

"Looking back at the tape, in hindsight, I shouldn't have said those things," Brooks said in a report published Wednesday night on The Miami Herald's Web site. (Watch the video in which officers laugh about a woman who was shot -- 2:30)

Broward County Sheriff's officials said no one would face disciplinary action in connection with the training video.

A civilian investigative panel last week concluded that police indiscriminately used stun guns, tear gas and other weapons and unlawfully arrested and searched protesters during massive demonstrations at the 2003 Free Trade Area of the Americas meeting.

One protester, Elizabeth Ritter, contends she was unjustifiably shot with rubber bullets while she stood in front of riot gear-clad police. A video recorded the day of the protests shows Ritter cowering under a sign while being pelted with bullets. One bullet pierced the sign and struck her in the head.

The training tape shows officers joking about the shots fired at Ritter.

Brooks joined the sheriff's office in 2000, less than a month after quitting his job as a Miami police assistant chief amid an uproar over his ride-along with federal agents during the armed raid to seize Elian Gonzalez. Elected officials had warned they did not want Miami police involved.

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