Body camera footage has been released showing the moment a white man confronted and pulled a gun on a group of Black teens protesting housing inequality on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Florida, the Miami Herald reports.
Mark Bartlett, 51 has been charged with hate crime, in addition to three counts of aggravated assault with prejudice, which are second-degree felonies and a single count of improperly exhibiting a firearm, a third-degree felony, Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle has said.
His charges were upgraded because of a hate crime bill passed by Florida legislators, the Miami Herald reports. If convicted, the bill could mean a longer sentence.
Video shot by bystanders shows Bartlett swearing and hurling racial insults at the group of Black cyclists while keeping the gun at his side. He was with his girlfriend Dana Scalione. Several videos from different perspectives were shot of the confrontation involving Bartlett. In one, an unidentified white woman is shown yelling at the cyclists to move because she has to go pick up her children, then screaming that one of them ran over her foot.
“You just touched me, you bunch of thugs,” she screamed.
A few minutes later, a man in a pink T-shirt, whom police identified as Bartlett, walks up to the scene with his handgun at his side, yelling obscenities and racial epithets at the black cyclists. Police later arrested Bartlett on the weapons charge as he was driving a few miles from the scene.
On the body cam video Bartlett yells: “Oh my God, this is crazy. How am I arrested now and all these little black kids aren’t?” Bartlett asks one officer in the video. “They hit my wife and ran over her foot. I came out there to protect her. They left, thank God and I went back to my car. We even called 911, twice. I pay taxes. Do they? It’s amazing.”
The body camera footage from several officers on the scene was released this week by the Miami-Dade state prosecutors.
There is also a video that shows police commanding Bartlett to the ground. He is then handcuffed after his SUV was stopped just outside the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts on Biscayne Boulevard.
In another video, Scalione is ordered out of the truck and onto the sidewalk as she places her hands in the air.
A third video shows Bartlett in the back of a police car.
Reportedly at least four of the teens have filed civil rights lawsuit against Bartlett and Scalione who they said caused emotional distress from the racially charged confrontation.
The teens were participating in the “Bikes Up Guns Down,” rally which is an offshoot of the “Wheels Up Guns Down” movement that has become widespread in South Florida during the holiday, the outlet reports.