Allegations of police cover-up in deadly Miami shooting

(CBS News) MIAMI -- A crowd of mostly blacks and Hispanics was leaving a Miami Beach hip hop festival at 4 a.m. in May of 2011. Police say a blue Hyundai, seen in video recorded by a resident in a high rise, had hit a police officer on a bike three blocks away. It rolled to a stop for a minute when police opened fire.

Raymond Herisse
Raymond Herisse
CBS News

A dozen officers fired 116 rounds. Twenty-two-year-old Raymond Herisse, hit 16 times, died behind the wheel. Four bystanders were also wounded, including Carlson Saint Louis.

"You go there for fun, and next thing you know, you get shot," St. Louis says. "You hear gunshots and you're crawling for your life."

At first, police said Herisse shot at them. But three days passed before investigators said they recovered a gun under the Hyundai's front seat. Tests showed Herisse never fired it. And police have not presented any evidence that an officer was hit was hit by Herisse's car.

His blood alcohol level was over the legal limit.

Charline Herisse
Charline Herisse
CBS News

"They say he was driving on the wrong side of the street," says Marwan Porter, an attorney who is representing Herisse's family. "The tape doesn't show that. They say he was driving recklessly. The tape doesn't show that."

Porter says Herisse was "shot down in cold blood."

"This doesn't pass the smell test," he says.

Some witnesses say police confiscated cell phones from people who had taken videos of the shooting and the aftermath.

"It's been over two years, and still today we haven't heard from the police officers," says Charline Herisse, the sister of the man who was killed. "They attacked my brother, and now they are attacking family by not telling us what happened. They need to take accountability for their actions."

Police investigators won't say whether they've questioned the twelve officers involved in the shooting. Herisse's family had to sue Miami Beach to release evidence in the case.

Miami Beach police declined our request for an interview, but they did refer us to the mayor's office.

In a statement, the mayor said the investigation prevents making "formal statements" but added, "The city has been diligently working on enhancing policies and procedures throughout the organization to restore the public trust."

"We want some kind of closure," Charline Herisse says. "We want to understand what happened and why they used such force."

State prosecutors are now reviewing the case and will decide whether to charge any of the officers.

  • Mark Strassmann

    Mark Strassmann was named CBS News Transportation correspondent in August 2011. He has been a CBS News correspondent since January 2001, and is based in the Atlanta bureau.

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