Home / PINAC News / Miami-Dade Police Confiscate Cell Phone after Killing Man

Miami-Dade Police Confiscate Cell Phone after Killing Man

UPDATE: The step-daughter did not actually record the shooting. She started recording police when they barged in their apartment after the shooting. One of the cops swiped the phone from her hand and confiscated it, which is even less of an excuse to seize it as evidence.

He then forced her to sign a document saying she will eventually get the phone back. She arrived in this country from Cuba four years ago and believed she had no choice

Hoping to interview her soon.

 

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Miami-Dade police shot and killed a man Tuesday, then confiscated a cell phone camera from his step-daughter who had apparently recorded the incident.

That, of course, is illegal unless the officers were acting under “exigent circumstances,” a legal phrase that allows officers to circumvent the law if they believe the evidence is in danger of being destroyed.

But this is the same department that deleted my footage after my latest arrest, only for me to recover it, so it’s not above them to destroy the same evidence they claim they are trying to protect.

In fact, they would have most likely have already released the video they confiscated to the public if it corroborated their version of the shooting. Or at least be in the process of obtaining a warrant in order to view the footage.

Instead, they are merely claiming the man they shot had raised a gun to them, leaving them no choice but to kill him.

The man they killed was Alexis Suarez, 47, an unarmed security guard at Miami International Airport who had been involved in an altercation at work with another man long before the actual shooting.

Police say they had enough evidence from that incident to arrest him for aggravated assault, which is why visited the apartment complex where he lived with his wife and step-daughter on Tuesday.

They claim they shot him while talking to him in the parking lot of the apartment complex after he raised the gun to them.

His wife and step-daughter claim he was sitting in his car when they shot him.

His step-daughter, Lilliana Marti, was apparently recording the incident from the apartment with her cell phone, which prompted police to confiscate it.

The Miami Herald doesn’t appear to think much of the camera confiscation, burying that detail in the 16th paragraph of its story.

Nor do they bother to inquire whether the cops have viewed the footage or are obtaining a warrant to view it as dictated by law.

And they completely fail to ask the most important question of all: Did police fear Marti  was going to destroy the footage she recorded of her step-father being shot and killed by police?

That is highly unlikely considering Suarez’s wife told CBS Miami that “this is the biggest crime that I’ve ever seen.”

Instead they are feeding us irrelevant information such as “police said they found a ballistics vest in Reyes’ possession, though it is unclear if he was wearing it” as if it is rare for a security guard to own a bulletproof vest.

The Miami Herald also said that “police said he possessed a concealed weapon permit. It’s unclear if Suarez fired any shots at the detectives.”

Let’s be clear about the term “unclear”: If the question is still unclear after they talked to police about the incident, then it’s clear he wasn’t wearing the bulletproof vest and that he did not open fire on the officers.

The Miami Herald spoke to a media spokesman as well as the police union president about the matter, two men who get paid to spin the facts:

John Rivera, president of the Miami-Dade chapter of the Police Benevolent Association, confirmed that the two detectives fired.

Rivera said he spoke with the two officers after the shooting. Though he declined to give details, Rivera said that he believes “the evidence” will prove their actions were justified.

But Suarez’s wife and stepdaughter say police did not need to shoot Suarez, who was still inside his car when they confronted him.

“This is the biggest crime that I’ve ever seen,” a distraught Marisel Dieguez told Miami Herald news partner CBS4.

Suarez’s stepdaughter, Lilliana Marti, said officers overreacted. “He didn’t even get the chance to do anything or get out of his car,” she said.

She said she filmed the shooting but said police confiscated her cellphone.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a set of guidelines backed by case law that dictates how police should deal with citizens with cameras, including on how they should confiscate a camera under exigent circumstances.

I am trying to track down Suarez’s wife and step-daughter for an interview.

Story continues below...


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About Carlos Miller

Carlos Miller is founder and publisher of Photography is Not a Crime, which began as a one-man blog in 2007 to document his trial after he was arrested for photographing police during a journalistic assignment. He is also the author of The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook, which can be purchased through Amazon.