Lawsuit: Miami police ‘violently attacked’ black man after he filmed them

For the past two years, musician Emanuel David Williams has claimed he was grounded, punched in the head and arrested by three officers from the Miami Police Department (MPD) because he filmed them with his cellphone. In September 2019, when the incident occurred, he was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest without violence, felony charges the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office would later drop.

Williams, now 32, recently filed a lawsuit against the city of Miami and the three officers – William Gonzalez, Adon Allen and Nelson Hernandez – on the grounds that his constitutional rights were violated, citing excessive force, malicious prosecution , and false arrests and imprisonments. , among other charges. The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $ 30,000.

“Your officers acted like members of a gang, not a police force,” Williams attorney Ivan Guerrero wrote in a letter to Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina in January. .

According to the September 22, 2019 arrest report, the three officers arrived at Williams’ apartment in Overtown after his ex-girlfriend asked for help removing certain items from their home. Officers do not indicate in their arrest documents that Williams acted violently towards them, only that he got too close to Officer William Gonzalez on his cell phone.

Williams said at the time that he was recording the trio of officers because he had not been told why he was prohibited from entering his home.

In images captured by Williams and later posted to Instagram (the post has since been removed), he zooms in on agents’ name tags.

“Officer [Nelson] Hernandez and officer [Adon] Allen, “Williams asks in one video,” why are you in my face? ”

“Because we can be,” Allen replies.

As Williams continues to record, focusing the camera on Gonzalez, the officer becomes increasingly agitated and asks Williams to stop filming. “Sir, if you hand that phone to my face, we’re going to have a problem,” Gonzalez told Williams.

The officers then tell Williams that they are giving him a “lawful order” to stand on the sidewalk across the street. After Williams crosses the roadway with his camera pointed at the officers, Gonzalez smashes the phone to the ground.

“Don’t put the phone in my face!” Gonzalez yells at Williams before slapping the device with his hand. The phone lands with its camera facing the sky and captures the three officers grabbing Williams and handcuffing him.

“Oh my God!” Williams is screaming. Officers shout at him to “stop resisting”, to which Williams repeatedly shouts that he cannot resist and cannot breathe.

In the MPD’s arrest report, Officer Gonzalez wrote that “the accused then continued to place his cell phone in close proximity to my face, once again crossing the distance into my reactionary space, in which case j informed the accused that he was under arrest. ”

In his lawsuit, filed last month in South Florida District Court, Williams testifies that it was well within his legal right to film officers. He alleges that the police officers who arrested him threw him on the sidewalk and kicked and punched him like a “street gang”. (In a 2019 interview, Williams said New times police repeatedly punched him in the head after pinning him to the ground and then showing symptoms of a concussion.

“They were successful with me,” said Williams. “There was nothing I could have done. If I had reacted or retaliated, I could have been sitting in a cell or having been shot. The only thing I could do to stay alive was to let that happen.”

Registration of duty officers is legal in many circumstances, but people across Florida have ended up in jail for doing so. In May this year, a Florida appeals court upheld the 2009 arrest of a young mother who filmed police officers holding her son outside a movie theater.

Last month, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Rundle stood alongside Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Clements to announce that five of that city’s police officers were charged with a count of assault and battery for the violent arrest of a suspect and also for attacking and beating a spectator who had videotaped the incident. Following a series of brutal arrests, all of which included black people, the Miami Beach Police Department announced it would stop enforcing a recently enacted law that prohibited standing within 20 feet of officers. with “the intention of hindering, provoking or harassing” them.

Following the 2019 incident with Williams, the Miami Police Department released a statement saying they were investigating the circumstances that led to the arrest.

“The Miami City Police Department is aware of a mobile phone video that appeared on social media showing our uniformed officers involved in an arrest with a suspect who was filming,” Department spokeswoman Kellia said. Fallat at the time. “Our internal affairs section is also aware of and investigating the circumstances leading up to the video.”

Ask by New times‘for comment on the litigation and whether the officers named as defendants are still employed by the MPD, Miami City attorney Henry Hunnefeld said he could not discuss the ongoing litigation. Responding to a similar request, the MPD said New times it may take up to a week for his legal department to follow up.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *