MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) – The Miami Beach Police Department has responded to a South Florida man’s claims that a police officer tried to seize a video he had taken of a Memorial Day shooting involving nearly a dozen officers on South Beach.
Narces Benoit said he and girlfriend Ericka Davis just happened to be in the area when police surrounded a car driven by Raymond Herisse and opened fire. Herisse was killed and four bystanders and three police officers were injured.
Benoit said when he saw the officers surrounding the car, he pulled out his cell phone and hit the video record button. After the shooting, Benoit said when one of the officers noticed him recording what was going on, he came over to the truck with his gun drawn.
“One of the officers jumped in the truck, put a pistol to me head, poked me like three times saying ‘What the”bleep” is you recording?” By that time I was on the floor, handcuffed, my phone was smashed, he stepped on it,” said Benoit.
Benoit said he was able to pull the memory card from the phone and hid it in his mouth while he and Davis were questioned by police.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Miami Beach police confirmed that one of their officers detained Benoit, but it had nothing to do with his cell phone.
According to their statement:
“Mr. Benoit had exited his vehicle and approached the incident scene and was observed quickly walking toward his vehicle immediately after the shooting. Because Mr. 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.”
Miami Beach police also confirmed that the confiscated Benoit’s phone, and those of several other people, but it was not to censor the video.
“Any and all video of the incident is crucial to the investigation, and it is not unusual for police to secure any video that may have evidentiary value. Several other phones were also secured during the course of the investigation.”
As for smashing the phone, the release contained pictures of Benoit’s phone which was a little banged up but not in pieces as if it had been smashed.
“Contrary to Mr. Benoit’s statements to the media, the cell phone 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. This damage does not appear consistent with Mr. Benoit’s statements to the media that his phone was “smashed.”
The State Attorney’s Office subpoenaed Benoit’s video last Friday and it was turned over.
Police opened fire just before 4:00 a.m. Monday, May 30th, after Herisse reportedly tried to run over several officers near 18th Street and Collins Avenue. More than one hundred rounds were fired by the eight Miami Beach and four Hialeah police officers involved in the shooting. Police found a Berretta 92F semi-automatic pistol in the car Herisse was driving, but haven’t said if it was fired during the melee.