Two witnesses to a fatal shooting in South Beach, Florida last Monday claim they were harassed and intimidated by police who smashed their cell phones and held them at gunpoint after the couple took an up-close video of the event.
Herisse had hit a cop car and led police in a chase over several blocks. Narces Benoit and his girlfriend Ericka Davis witnessed the shooting, and Benoit started taking a video of it right before police opened fire.
According to the Miami Herald: On Thursday, The Miami Herald spoke to the couple that saw the end of the 4 a.m. police chase on Collins Avenue, then watched and filmed from just a few feet away as a dozen officers fired their guns repeatedly into Raymond Herisse’s blue Hyundai. They say the only reason they were able to show the video to a reporter is because they hid a memory card after police allegedly pointed guns at their heads, threw them to the ground and smashed the cell phone that took the video.
The video was taken close enough to see the muzzle flashes from the guns and several of the officer’s faces. It reportedly ends with police drawing guns on the couple and ordering them to stop filming and get out of the car.
Police reportedly grabbed Benoit’s phone from him and smashed it as they forced him onto the ground and handcuffed him and his girlfriend. The couple reports that several other people at the scene were treated similarly.
After Benoit was eventually uncuffed, police returned the smashed cell phone to him. At that point he discreetly removed the SIM card from it and placed it in his mouth. Police then took him to a mobile command center where they questioned him and demanded his video of the incident. He went through the whole interview while the card remained hidden in his mouth.
Benoit showed the video to several reporters after the incident. The couple says they’ve contacted an attorney and plan to file complaints against the police department.
CBS12 filed this video report that shows some of the video of the couple as well as footage of the event from a rooftop:
In an era when everyone walks around with a camera in their pocket, how do police forces think they can really get away with brazen brutality against the people they’re supposed to be protecting? Even if they can’t be decent for decency sake, how do they think no one is going to film their indecent acts?