HIALEAH (CBS4) – The making of a YouTube video turned into crime chaos after a Hialeah police officer crashed the party, which landed a group of people a trip to jail – including a banana man.
The “Harlem Shake” dance is an YouTube sensation that swept the world overnight. The 30 second music video begins with a ‘starter’ in a helmet or mask and jumps to a group of whacky dancers in crazy costumes.
College students are doing it, it’s being done underwater, in the Army, and even the Miami Heat has joined the wave. So when Dax Sotero of Hialeah decided to do his own version, he saw nothing wrong.
“I came up with the idea to basically do a Hialeah Harlem shake where we would all come dressed up in traditional Hialeah costumes,” said Sotero. “Stray hats, all kind of crazy outfits.”
Sotero went to Facebook and invited about 3,000 people to join him on February 24th at a City of Hialeah entrance to do the taping.
Many of the people showed up that day dressed the part, including a man dressed as a banana from head-to-toe.
What happened next was unexpected.
“Things got out of hand. Definitely,” said Sotero.
However, the chaos didn’t come from the dancers. Just before the dancing scene with the crew a police officer drove up.
“He tried to take the camera and we were like ‘What’s going on you can’t take his camera!’” said Jamal Wright.
Wright, an avid juggler, was preparing to show off his talents in the video when the police told everyone to leave. Things quickly escalated, according to several witnesses.
Eric Faden took out his cell phone to capture the whole thing and cops started barking at him to stop filming them, according to Faden. Scared, Faden said he started to walk away when a cop came from behind and tried to grab the phone. He quickly put it in his pocket and the next thing he knew he was on the ground.“They end up tripping him. One cop ends up kicking him in the head,” said Wright. “I pull out my phone to start filming that.”
The Harlem Shake quickly evolved into the ‘Hialeah Hate;’ grainy pictures and video show Faden on the ground, put in handcuffs and thrown in a car.
“It was definitely excessive use of force,” said Sotero. “If they had a problem with it they could have told us to leave. I think it just went too far.”
Faden, Wright, and the man in the banana suit all spent the night in jail for trespassing and resisting arrest.
“I spent like 23 hours in police custody,” said Wright.
Faden’s cell phone, which captured the whole thing, is still locked up in police’s custody as evidence.
However, the next day when in court the judge had his own thoughts of the boys and their music video.
“The judge basically laughed us out of court and said the State of Florida is dropping all the charges,” said Faden. “He seemed to think it was a little ridiculous.”
Faden didn’t think that the whole ordeal was a joke, and could happen to someone else quite easily.
“It’s sounds kind of silly because it was the Harlem shake but what if were defending one of the amendment or some sort of right,” said Faden. “Would they have come and arrested a bunch of us as well?”
Since the ordeal Wright has been on a Harlem Shake circuit, showcasing his juggling skills.
Sotero said he still wants to do his video and the cops are welcomed to join in as well.
“Hey if they want to be a part of the video they could have just asked,” said Sotero.
While the story is certainly funny, it was had quite a disastrous impact; Banana man was kicked out the police academy for being arrested.
The two other men, who are teachers, now have to explain an arrest record – for a dance video.