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BWC: Fla. town’s mayor confronts officer during traffic stop over his ‘attitude’

“(The officer) had to disengage from the traffic stop to be able to engage the mayor,” Surfside PD Chief Henry Doce stated, reminding the public not to interrupt officers on duty

By Joanna Putman

SURFSIDE, Fla. — The mayor of a Florida town posted body camera video of himself interrupting a police officer’s traffic stop, Local 10 reported.

The June 3 incident occurred when Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett drove upalongside a traffic stop in a red car, according to the report. The officer was unaware of the mayor’s arrival or that Burkett was acquainted with the stopped driver.

Burkett’s interruption has raised some questions in Surfside, where he is focused on changes in the police department, including improving officers’ demeanor, according to the report.

“I was going to stop you to tell you thank you for patrolling, but you seem to have a little attitude,” video shows Burkett saying to the officer during the stop.

“An attitude?” the officer asked.

Burkett then asked the driver, who was a personal acquaintance, “Did you notice that he has an attitude?”

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The mayor acquired the body camera footage and posted it on social media, according to the report. The post garnered mixed reactions from residents.

Burkett maintained that he did not intend to interrupt the officer but wanted to address what he perceived as an unfriendly look, according to the report.

“I had no intention of interrupting him,” Burkett said. “But I did want to talk to him about the ‘drop dead’ look he gave me.”

Surfside PD Chief Henry Doce, who was hired by Burkett, reviewed the footage and supported his officer’s conduct, according to the report.

“He followed the rules, was professional,” Doce said.

Doce emphasized the importance of not distracting officers during their duties.

“(The officer) had to disengage from the traffic stop to be able to engage the mayor, to see what was going on,” Doce noted.