A 15-year-old Florida student tapped an officer on the back of his knee. The officer allegedly slammed her to the floor in response -- and now faces a felony charge.

On Sept. 25, just after 2 p.m. Eastern time, the student paced around a room at special needs Cross Creek School in Pompano Beach as Deputy Willard Miller, 38, stood in a corner scrolling and texting on his cellphone, according to recently released silent video. Two other females were seated in the room.

At one point, the student, in her dark-colored, knee-length shorts and sleeveless mauve shirt, paused behind Miller, who appeared focused on his cellphone. With her left foot, she tapped Miller on the back of his right knee, causing him to slightly bend at both knees.

Miller turned to his right as the door to the room opened and another person walked in. The student walked near the new person before resuming her pacing. Miller stared in her direction.

The unidentified person who walked into the room started to leave but lingered in the doorway. In the video, Miller’s head is turned to his right as he utters inaudible words.

Just as the unknown person began to close the door completely and as the student stepped toward Miller’s direction, Miller stalked over to the pacing student, wrapped his hands around her neck and slammed her to the ground, the video shows.

The student landed on her back as her mid-back length hair splayed behind her head. She quickly bent her arms toward her face, but the video shows Miller grabbing them and using them to flip her over onto her stomach. He then placed his knee on her back and folded her arms, the video shows.

Miller bent his face closer to the back of the student’s head and appeared to yell at her.

With Miller’s knee still pressed on the student’s back, one of the standing females opened the door, looked out into the hallway, closed it again and reached for tissue she used to grab something off the fire extinguisher case.

The other female who stood observing the scene pointed to a space behind Miller and the student on the floor. Miller pulled the pinned down student by her arms and shirt and threw her into that space, the video shows. It then ends.

BSO News Update

Once again, Sheriff Gregory Tony demonstrated transparency and accountability announcing the arrest of Deputy Willard Miller. “I am tired of it. I am going to fix it and hold people accountable,” stated Sheriff Gregory Tony. As in any profession, the actions of one do not reflect the actions of the thousands of other deputies who work for the Broward Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Gregory Tony is committed to showing the public we are an agency you can trust and are dedicated to providing professional public service. A flow chart outlining all of the steps in the Broward Sheriff’s Office Internal Affairs Investigation Process has been included.

Posted by Broward Sheriff's Office on Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Miller was arrested on Tuesday and charged with one count of third-degree felony child abuse without great bodily harm, said Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony in a news conference Tuesday.

“The byproduct of his actions were deplorable,” he said. “They were uncalled for and they violated multiple policies just on the optics and it required up to open up an internal affairs investigation.”

Tony applauded school officials who brought the video of the incident to the sheriff’s department.

An internal affairs investigation launched as a result of the video, which was also sent to the state attorney’s office. The state attorney’s office agreed that the case warranted criminal charges, Tony said.

Miller is currently out on $5,000 bond and could serve up to five years in prison if convicted, CBS News reported.

Miller is the fifth Broward deputy to be accused recently of using excessive force, the Associated Press reported.

Last week, Tony fired a deputy accused of punching a suspect who was handcuffed to a hospital bed, according to Miami Herald. In July, he fired another deputy accused of punching a handcuffed inmate, the Miami Herald. reported Two other deputies are awaiting trial now for allegedly body-slamming, punching and pepper-spraying a teenager last spring.

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