SURFSIDE, FLA. (WSVN) – The mayor of Surfside is weighing in on body camera video that caught an exchange between police officers and a teen that prompted claims by her family that they felt like they were being harassed by police.
A 7News crew on Tuesday approached Surfside Police Chief Rogelio Torres at Town Hall.
“I’ll refer you to our public information officer,” said Torres.
7News pointed out that the spokesperson said Torres is not talking. Stating they were following procedures, the police department refused an interview on Monday and did so again on Tuesday.
The teen, 16, said she was followed by a stranger while she was walking home from work at around 11 p.m. on June 16.
The teen, her mother, Andrea Munoz, and her 19-year-old brother, Dominick Munoz, said they felt harassed by police outside of their home after she called for help.
“I feel like it’s an interrogation,” Andrea is heard saying in the bodycam video.
“It is an interrogation,” the officer replied.
Moreover, Dominick said, he believes part of the exchange with police officers was edited out.
“They removed me being there entirely,” he said.
Moments after 7News spoke with Torres, the crew walked over to Surfside Mayor Shlomo Danzinger.
Initially, the mayor declined to comment on the incident.
“I have nothing to say on that item,” he said.
But when 7News asked him about whether the bodycam footage was altered, Danzinger spoke up.
“No, they wouldn’t do that,” he said.
When asked again, Danzinger replied, “No.”
7News pointed out Dominick’s claim that he’s absent from the footage.
“Again, I didn’t do it,” said the mayor.
When 7News asked the mayor whether he had seen Monday night’s 7News story about the incident, Danzinger replied, “I did.”
The mayor was then asked how he thinks the police officers handled the situation.
“I only saw two minutes of that video. From what I understand, it went on for almost 90 minutes, so I would want to see the full video before I make any determinations or come to any conclusions,” he said.
7News then asked the mayor to comment on a part of the video where a police officer appears to mock the teen.
“Mocking, berating and speaking to us in a militant fashion,” said Andrea.
“It’s just a piece of the puzzle. As someone who’s been on the media myself, and I’ve seen my own words get cut to pieces, I would want to see the entire thing in its entirety,” said Danzinger.
When told the bodycam footage has raised concerns from the community, Danzinger replied, “We’re here to serve our residents, but we also stand by our town and our people.”
7News brought up the family’s account of the incident to Danzinger, how they described the officers’ behavior as hostile when they were the ones calling for help.
The mayor replied, “There’s always two sides to every story, and until all the facts come out, I don’t like to draw any conclusions.”
When asked whether anything from the situation bothers him, Danzinger said, “It may bother me, but it’s not the entire story.”
When asked to clarify whether or not what he saw in the video bothered him, Danzinger smiled.
“It’s not the entire story,” he said.
As of late Tuesday night, 7News is still waiting for an incident report from town officials.
On Monday, a spokesperson sent a statement that reads in part, “The incident was handled in compliance with department policies and procedures.”
Copyright 2022 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.