Florida Police Respond to Video of Shooting

Tuesday night the Miami Beach Police Department released an official statement regarding a newly released cellphone video of a deadly police shooting on Memorial Day weekend.


MIAMI BEACH, Fla. --

Tuesday night the Miami Beach Police Department released an official statement regarding a newly released cellphone video of a deadly police shooting on Memorial Day weekend.

The statement said, "Because Mr. (Narces) Benoit matched the description of one of the subjects just reported fleeing the scene and, further, because he ignored repeated commands as he quickly walked towards and entered his vehicle, he was detained by officers."

At least nine police officers opened fire early on Memorial Day on a car, killing Raymond Herisse, 22, and injuring four bystanders.

Narces Benoit, who took the video released Monday, said that instead of helping the injured, some officers were doing damage control.

"One of the officers jumped in the truck, put a pistol to my head, poked me like three times, saying, 'What the F was you recording?' " Benoit said.

A Local 10 photographer also had his camera taken by police. The camera later was returned.

Benoit said his camera was smashed on the ground, although he managed to take the memory card.

"Contrary to Mr. Benoit's statements to the media, the cellphone turned over to the Miami Beach Police Department is in working order; the only damage observed to the cell phone is to the lower right portion of the LCD screen and it is unknown when this damage occurred," said City of Miami Beach spokesperson, Nannette Rodriguez. "Additionally, investigators were not aware - nor did Mr. Benoit ever indicate - that he had removed the SIM card from his phone prior to surrendering it to investigators."

The city also provided two pictures of the phone and a signed property receipt.

The American Civil Liberties Union is calling for an independent review of the Miami Beach police force's actions.

The organization's calls for a review came the day after Monday's release of a cellphone video of the officer-involved shooting that left Raymond Herisse, 22, dead.

If it weren't for the public and their cellphones, little would be known about the shooting.

As the footage surfaced showing a bicycle officer pointing a gun at a bystander, taking his cellphone and later breaking it, civil rights leaders said they want to know what police are covering up.

"This isn't a question of police trying to secure evidence. It's a question of police trying to destroy evidence of what they had done," said John DeLeon, of the ACLU.

DeLeon said legally, there is no merit for a police officer to behave that way.

"There were First Amendment violations. Arguably, there were Fourth Amendment violations to the Constitution and police using excessive force," DeLeon said.

The police chief has promised answers in the case.

The ACLU will reach out to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement regarding the review.

Officers from 14 agencies were in Miami Beach during Memorial Day weekend, although it is unclear which officers were involved in these events.

Copyright 2011 by Post-Newsweek Stations. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

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