A police chief has apologised after he was caught on video laughing about a female lawyer who was shot in the head at a protest demonstration by his officers.
Elizabeth Ritter was alone and unarmed when she was hit by a hail of rubber bullets fired by police in riot gear at a free trade demonstration in Miami in 2003.
After she fell to the ground and turned to face them, one bullet ripped through a placard she was carrying and struck her in the forehead.
On a training video filmed the following morning and released to the media this week, Major John Brooks of the Broward County Sheriff's Department tells cheering colleagues how proud he was of their performance during the incident. "How about yesterday, huh?" he said. "I was so pumped up about how good you guys were."
Amid laughter, another officer is seen imitating the moment Ms Ritter, 45, was hit. Jabbing a finger to his forehead, the sergeant says, "the lady in the red dress, I don't know who got her but it went right through the sign and hit her smack dab in the middle of her head".
Major Brooks said he regretted his behaviour. "The comments were inappropriate and unprofessional and I shouldn't have made them," he told reporters.
"I'm apologising to the people being talked about, I'm apologising to the Broward Sheriff's Office and to the public. I take responsibility for whatever anyone said."
Ms Ritter, who was protesting against the closure of the Miami courthouse during the Free Trade Area of the Americas summit in November 2003, welcomed the apology but said she still planned to sue.
"He and others committed battery on an unarmed citizen peaceably expressing an idea," she said.
An independent investigation later criticised police for "heavy-handed" tactics during the demonstrations, at which 220 people were arrested. Six lawsuits against the police are pending.
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