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Police Shooting Raising More Questions Than Answers

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Jim-DeFede-600x450 Jim DeFede
Jim DeFede joined CBS4 News in January 2006, providing reg...
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South Florida Crime

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Nearly three years after Miami Dade Police shot and killed four men in a sting operation in the Redland, the State Attorney’s Office issued a scathing report filled with skepticism about the conduct of the eleven officers.

Nevertheless, while prosecutors doubted the version of events proffered by police, the prosecutors concluded they did not have enough evidence to file criminal charges against the cops.

During the June 30, 2011 sting a police informant lured a gang of thieves to a remote location in South Dade, where the gang thought they were going to rip off a wealthy drug dealer. The gang had reputedly been responsible for a number of home invasions and were particularly known for violence, police claimed.

When the robbers, and the informant, showed up at the house, they were greeted by an array of police, including an 11-member SWAT team, of what Miami Dade calls a Special Response Team. All three of robbers as well as the informant were gunned down by police. Prosecutors found just one of the killings legally justified.

“However, due to a number of unusual, counter-intuitive, suspicious and/or disturbing factors present in the other three shootings,” the report states, “we cannot state definitively that those shootings were legally justified.”

In one chilling section, prosecutors described a video from a police helicopter showing the informant with his hands in air surrendering, even getting down on the ground. The helicopter veers off to look for others, but then gunshots are heard

“These shots represent the killing of the Confidential Informant, Rosendo Betancourt Garcia,” the report states.

The 40-page report was prepared by eight senior prosecutors.

Click here to read the full closeout memo

“As with all of our police shooting closeout memoranda, our role as prosecutors is to investigate , review and comment on the criminal culpability of all shooting officers involved in each shooting event,” the report states. “We recognize that persons who read this memorandum may have questions regarding the police planning for this operation or the carrying out of that operational plan. Others may conclude that during the operation itself, procedures went seriously awry. However, those areas of police operations are not with the purview of our analysis of any criminal culpability. Accordingly, as to those issues, we defer to those entities that have authority over the police department, its officers and its policies and procedures.”

The Miami Dade Police Department is expected to conduct its own review of the shooting.

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