'Booty dance' footage contradicts women's abuse claims
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- The surveillance footage of two women dancing voluntarily appears to contradict their claims that they were humiliated by Miami Beach police officers.
Michelle and Angelina Mastrangelo, sisters in their 20s, were vacationing in Miami Beach from Toronto when they were arrested for disorderly intoxication on Dec 23. "We were with these three guys; the three guys were smoking marijuana," Angelina said. "My sister and I were not smoking marijuana. We had four beers prior to this, so the [guys] wanted to roll a spliff and we wanted to have a cigarette."
It was at this time that Miami Beach officers arrested the Mastrangelos for disorderly intoxication, among other charges. Angelina suggested that the officer who approached her used excessive force. "He pushed me back into a brick wall and flipped me over and handcuffed me," Angelina said.
After the siblings got out of jail, they filed abuse claims against the Miami Beach Police Department, saying they were verbally harassed.
Angelina said an officer at the station's holding area asked to tell him how much she weighed. "When I told them my weight, they all were laughing at me, and they were calling me 'fat Miss Piggy,'" she said.
The Mastrangelos' account made headlines in Canada. "When it's a false, completely false allegation, it really tears up the fabric of what we're trying to accomplish here," said Miami Beach Police Chief Raymond Martinez.
One of the siblings' allegations is that they were not allowed to use the restroom, and that one of them urinated on herself, but the surveillance video shows a female officer escorting one of them to the women's bathroom.
Not long after, the footage shows the Mastrangelos getting up and starting to dance. "You could see the two females getting up and doing a booty dance," said Martinez.
Angelina claims the male officers in the holding area were telling them to dance. "They were all laughing at us and cheering us on," she said. "[One of them] said, 'You guys are funnier than the Kardashians. I'd watch you instead,'" she continued. "Yeah," confirmed Michelle.
Angelina said the officers' derogatory comments about her weight prompted her to start dancing. "They were calling me fat and stuff, and I'm not going to let a bunch of men degrade me in front of another bunch of men and a woman," she said.
An internal affairs investigation was opened, but after Martinez saw the video of the two women dancing in front of the officers, he had serious questions about their abuse claims. "It's important for us to be able to clear our officers when they are in the right," he said.
Martinez also pointed out that one of the sisters urinated on herself and then rubbed herself on several seats. She said she warned the officers of the potential bad break, but as the footage shows, she was taken to the bathroom three times. "We actually had to call a decontamination contractor to decontaminate the room," Martinez said.
Angelina defended her right to get up and dance. "I don't think that dancing is against the law, and I think I danced pretty well on camera," she said.
The officers facing the Mastrangelos' accusations are in the process of being cleared.
The sisters returned to South Florida Thursday to attend a court appearance concerning the December charges.
The judge fined them $250 each and ordered them to serve 20 hours of community service back home in Canada.
(Copyright 2013 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)