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City Refutes Witness Claims Police Tried To Destroy SoBe Shooting Video

MIAMI (CBS4) - An eyewitness who shot a video of a Memorial Day police involved shooting on South Beach claims a police officer tried to destroy the recording.

Narces Benoit said he and girlfriend Ericka Davis just happened to be in the area when nearly dozen officers surrounded a car driven by Raymond Herisse and opened fire. Herisse was killed and four bystanders and three police officers were injured.

Benoit said when he saw the officers surrounding the car, he pulled out his cell phone and hit the video record button. After the shooting, Benoit said when one of the officers noticed him recording what was going on, he came over to the truck with his gun drawn.

"One of the officers jumped in the truck, put a pistol to me head, poked me like three times saying 'What the"bleep" is you recording?" By that time I was on the floor, handcuffed, my phone was smashed, he stepped on it," said Benoit.

Benoit said he was able to pull the memory card from the phone and hide it in his mouth while he and Davis were questioned by police.

He's now considering suing the Miami Beach police department over the way he and Davis were treated.

Late Tuesday, the city of Miami Beach denied that claim.

City spokesperson Nannette Rodriguez released a statement saying that officers reacted only after Benoit was seen rapidly walking to his car. Rodriguez stated that Benoit was arrested because he matched the description of one of the suspects just reported fleeing the scene, and refused to stop after repeated commands.

The statement read, in part:

"During the course of the investigation, Mr. Benoit was brought to the station as a witness to the incident. In a recorded statement, the investigating detective informed Mr. Benoit that his cell phone was being seized as investigative evidence and would be returned to him at a later date. Mr. Benoit signed and was provided with a copy of the Miami Beach Property Receipt. Any and all video of the incident is crucial to the investigation, and it is not unusual for police to secure any video that may have evidentiary value. Several other phones were also secured during the course of the investigation."

Rodriguez went on to say that the damage to Benoit's cell phone was minimal.

Police opened fire just before 4:00 a.m. Monday, May 30th, after Herisse reportedly got into an altercation with an officer at 18th Street and Collins Avenue. Miami Beach police said it wasn't Herisse's first attempt to strike an officer.

"From the initial stop, there was an attempt to strike an officer with his vehicle and there was an attempt later on Collins Avenue to strike two other officers that I'm aware off, at approximately 15th and Collins, and there was an attempt to strike two officers on bicycles somewhere down the 1300 block of Collins Avenue. So to the best of my knowledge at this point, a total of five officers were almost struck by this individual," said Miami Beach Police Chief Carlos Noriega at the time.

More than one hundred rounds were fired by the eight Miami Beach and four Hialeah police officers involved in the shooting. Police found a Berretta 92F semi-automatic pistol in the car Herisse was driving, but haven't said if it was fired during the melee.


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