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Fort Lauderdale police chief removed after criticism about department's handling of protests

Rick Maglione is being reassigned to a yet undetermined position.
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Silver police badge and handcuffs close-up.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The police chief for the city of Fort Lauderdale has been removed from his position.

The announcement was made on Thursday. 

Rick Maglione is being reassigned to a yet to be determined position.

Assistant Chief Karen Dietrich will run the department in the interim, said City Manager Chris Lagerbloom.

“To the men and women of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, I want you to know the city stands with you. We are committed to due process and the officers’ bill of rights,” Lagerbloom said in a video posted to YouTube

WPLG in Miami reported the department has faced criticism for its handling of May 31 unrest in the city. A Fort Lauderdale police officer was charged with battery for shoving a protester who was kneeling.

In a separate case, police-worn body camera video showed two officers swearing, chuckling and appearing to joke about shooting protesters with rubber bullets.

Dietrich will be the first woman to lead the department.

“As I begin this assignment, I will be evaluating our strengths and looking for opportunities to improve our processes. I will be meeting with various stakeholders, including the police unions and members of the public. My door is always open. I look forward to getting started," she said in a video statement posted on YouTube. 

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