No Charges For Miami Officers Involved In Deadly Traffic Stop Shooting
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South Florida Crime
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office has decided not to pursue charges against two Miami police officers involved in a deadly shooting during a 2009 traffic stop in Allapattah.
The decision, released in a batch of final memos on police shooting case released last week, was partially based on the fact that the exact nature of what led to the shooting remains unclear, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald. The officers named in the investigation, Omar Ayala and George Diaz, refused to give statements.
The shooting happened Nov. 14th, 2009 after police pulled over 35-year old Corey McNeil at NW 22nd Street and 5th Avenue.
Prosecutors believe during a pat down, McNeal resisted violently and Ayala was forced to the ground. The reason, according to the memo: the trajectory of many of the bullets that felled McNeal was upward, as though “McNeal standing over him, very possibly with a box cutter in his hand,” according to the paper.
McNeal was shot 27 times. Detectives arriving on the scene found a box cutter near McNeal’s right hand and a wad of cash in his left, as if he was pulling it out during the pat down. Police said McNeal’s DNA was found on the box cutter.
The police union said after the incident the shooting was justified.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to reasonably come to the conclusion that if someone is trying to stab you with a box cutter, you have the right to protect yourself,” Javier Ortiz, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police union, told the paper.
Records show McNeal had been arrested two months before his death for battering his uncle.
“McNeal said it would take more than handcuffs to arrest him the next time the police had a problem with him, they would have to put bullets in him,” according to the final memo.
McNeal’s roommate, Gregory Bell, told the paper McNeal had grown paranoid and tired of police officers “bothering him.”
According to McNeal’s autopsy report, he had cocaine in his system at the time he was pulled over.
“It is reasonable to conclude that Mr. McNeal became upset by the stop, whether legally justified or not,” prosecutor David I. Gilbert wrote in his final memo, according to the paper.
While prosecutors did not rule the shooting justified, according to the paper, they determined that there “is no evidence to rebut a claim of self-defense.”
The Miami Herald reports the State Attorney’s office, which has been criticized in the past for delays in finishing police shootings investigations, has yet to complete the final two probes into a string of seven shootings of young black men in Miami that roiled the department between July 2010 and February 2011.
CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed to this report.