Viral video shows struggle between cop, unruly fan at football game
Four Miami officers attempted to remove Bridget Freitas, 30, from the game when she swung twice at police detective Douglas Ross
By David Neal and Charles Rabin
MIAMI — A video shared on social media shows a Miami-Dade police officer punching a woman who had slapped him twice as officers ejected her from Hard Rock Stadium during the University of Miami football game against Virginia Tech.
Saturday night’s incident at the nationally televised game was posted on the Instagram account The 5th Year/Barstool Sports.
Bridget Freitas, 30, was arrested on charges of battery on a law enforcement officer and disorderly conduct. The Pembroke Pines woman, a registered nurse, bonded out Sunday morning.
In the video, four Miami-Dade uniformed officers, three men and one woman, attempt to remove Freitas, who appears to be lolling in a barely conscious state. She was in a stairway between rows, hanging onto a man’s shirt with her right hand.
As the officers hoist her above them and begin moving up the stairs, Freitas swings twice at Miami-Dade police detective Douglas Ross, who was holding her right leg — a forehand that grazed the back of his head and a backhand swing that caught him on the left side of his face.
Ross responded with a right hook to Freitas’ face.
Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez said as of Sunday, Ross’ standing with department hasn't changed. They are reviewing the video and “immediate chain of command will address the concerns.”
Police union President John Rivera said from what he has seen of the video, Ross was justified in striking the woman.
“All he did was react to her actions,” said Rivera, president of Miami-Dade's Police Benevolent Association.
Herald attempts to reach Freitas Sunday were unsuccessful.
As for what happened before the video, according to the arrest report, Ross went to Section 129 after a disturbance was reported there. The disturbance Ross found was Freitas arguing with other fans while “using profanity in a loud and boisterous manner.”
After officers couldn’t get Freitas to exit the section calmly, the report says, she planted herself on the stairs. Two officers tried to get her up and out. Two other officers, of which Ross was one, joined to help.
That’s when the video starts.
The report describes “Upon lifting (Freitas), (Freitas) swung and struck (Det. Ross) in the face while attempting to get away, causing this Det. (Ross) to strike (Freitas) in the face to gain compliance and control.”
Miami-Dade police issued a statement about the incident on Sunday afternoon: “Promoting a safe and secure environment during any special event is our primary concern. After responding to a disturbance, the person in the video was being removed from the event by our officers for being disorderly. She was subsequently arrested for Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer and Disorderly Conduct/Breach of the peace.
“Supervisory personnel are aware of the video and are reviewing the incident to ensure compliance with our policies and procedures.”
Freitas was one of 23 ejections and two arrests Saturday night, according to Miami-Dade police. The other arrest was also for battery.
©2017 Miami Herald
- Officer Safety