Friday, June 10, 2011

Yet More Police Brutality

I don't have the longer video clip that shows a driver ignore a police barricade and ended up stopped by the police who then surround the car and unleash a barrage of gunfire that killed the poor innocent driver.

But this video is of a witness to the police killing. And if you watch the whole video, you can see this couple nearly get shot as well when the police notice they have a camera phone and demand that they give the police the phone (presumably to suppress evidence of the killing):

Here is a write-up in the Miami Beach Herald on this incident:
A West Palm Beach couple who filmed Monday morning’s deadly officer-involved shooting on South Beach has accused officers of intimidation, destroying evidence and twisting the facts in the chaos surrounding the Memorial Day shootings – a charge that police officials say they know nothing about.


On Thursday, The Miami Herald spoke to the couple that saw the end of the 4 a.m. police chase on Collins Avenue, then watched and filmed from just a few feet away as a dozen officers fired their guns repeatedly into Raymond Herisse’s blue Hyundai. They say the only reason they were able to show the video to a reporter is because they hid a memory card after police allegedly pointed guns at their heads, threw them to the ground and smashed the cell phone that took the video.

The three-minute video captured on Narces Benoit’s HTC EVO phone begins as officers crowd around the east side of Herisse’s car with guns drawn. Roughly 15 seconds into the video, officers open fire.
Benoit filmed the incident from the sidewalk on the northeast corner of 13th Street and Collins Avenue, close enough to see some officers’ faces and individual muzzle flashes.

Shortly after the gunfire ends, an officer points at Benoit and police can be heard yelling for him to turn off the camera. The voices are muffled at times. The 35-year-old car stereo technician drops his hand with the camera and hurries back to his Ford Expedition parked further east on 13th Street.

The video shows Benoit get into the car, where his girlfriend, Ericka Davis, sat in the driver’s seat. He raises his camera and an officer is seen appearing on the driver’s side with his gun drawn, pointed at them.

The video ends as more officers are heard yelling expletives, telling the couple to turn the video off and get out of the car.
“They put guns to our heads and threw us on the ground,” Davis said.

Benoit said a Miami Beach officer grabbed his cell phone, said “You want to be [expletive] Paparazzi?” and stomped on his phone before placing him in handcuffs and shoving the crunched phone in Benoit’s back pocket. He said the couple joined other witnesses already in cuffs and being watched by officers, who were on the lookout for two passengers who, police believe at the time, had bailed out of Herisse’s car. It is still not known whether any passengers were in the car.

Four bystanders were shot in the gunfire and three officers suffered minor injuries.

Benoit and Davis said officers smashed several other cell phones in the ensuing chaos.
There are just too many instances where the police threaten, beat up, and confiscate evidence of police crimes. These cops need to be arrested, prosecuted, and thrown off the police force. The above article does not make it clear, but Raymond Herisse was innocent of anything except failing to heed a police blockade. For this he was killed. Worse... four bystanders and three police were injured by the insane fusillade that killed Raymond Herisse who had stopped and was apparently trying to obey police orders when the cops went amok and killed him point blank in a fusillade of bullets.

This reminds me of the most infamous recent case in this area, the killing of an immigrant, Robert DziekaƄski, at the Vancouver airport. The poor guy couldn't speak English. The mother was waiting outside the "secure" area and talked to officials telling them her son was supposed to have arrived but hadn't shown. The officials did nothing to connect the two, so after nine and a half hours he become unruly from frustration, and of course the police kill him. Now, over two years later the police finally issue an "apology" after fighting in court claiming "justified homicide" until their stories fell apart (because there is a video taken by a third party that makes it utterly clear that this was an unnecessary killing).

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