May 31st, 2011

Police Confiscate Cell Phone Cameras After Shooting Unarmed Man On Miami Beach 2

By Carlos Miller

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Minutes after Miami Beach police fired an endless barrage of bullets into an unarmed man over the weekend,  a police officer ran up to a witness who had been recording the incident on his cell phone camera and snatched it from him.

Narces Benoit gave CBS12 the following account:

“He didn’t say nothing. He just snatched me by my head and threw me on the ground and stepped on my back, threw it on the floor, stepped on it and was cussing me out the whole time,” said Benoit.

Benoit said the officer confiscated cell phone cameras from other witnesses as well.

He plans to file a complaint with the Miami Beach Police Department, which will probably go nowhere because the officer in question could have been from any number of neighboring jurisdictions considering Miami Beach spends more than a million dollars to bring in outside officers for the controversial weekend.

As it is right now, they’re releasing very little details, insisting that they’re still trying to piece the story together from the multitude of police agencies involved in the shooting.

In fact, there were two office-involved shootings Monday morning. An hour after the first man was killed, police shot at a second man in a car, but only ended up arresting him.

Police said they shot at both suspects because they were trying to run officers over with their cars.

However, four innocent bystanders were shot during the fist incident, most likely by police gunfire because the suspect ended up not having a gun, even though initial reports stated that he had been shooting out his window while driving.

Three cops were also hospitalized with minor injuries. It is not clear if they were shot by other officers in “friendly fire.” or if they were struck by the vehicle.

Memorial Day Weekend on Miami Beach has been controversial since 2001 when it became the hot spot for thousands of young blacks celebrating Urban Week.

That first year, the revelers took police by surprise, resulting in several shootings and rapes.

Since then, police have increased their presence tenfold that weekend, bringing in hundreds of officers from outside jurisdictions.

That has led to hundreds of arrests each year, but most are for misdemeanors that are eventually dropped.

I was arrested in 2009 for taking pictures of cops, then nearly arrested in 2010 for videotaping cops.

This year, I had no serious run-ins with police, but I ended up trampled upon in a human stampede.

That was a little crazy. At first,  I thought they were running from a shooting, but it turns out, they were most likely running from a snake. Yeah, a snake.

Read all about it in my Miami Beach 411 article.

Below is a video of the shooting recorded by a man from an upstairs apartment.


Send stories, tips and videos to Carlos Miller.

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