Crime

Miami Beach Cops Destroy Cell Phone, Video of Shooting

| by Jerome McCollom

I can't say I'm surprised. I have written numerous times (and unfortunately in the years ahead will probably write numerous more) of the police using heavy-handed tactics to get the citizens of our nation not to film them during questionable stops and/or shootings.

Remember watching video of Civil Rights era protesters in the 1960s being beaten by police and attacked by dogs? Well, at least the journalists filming these events didn't have their cameras destroyed or arrested by those racist cops.

Today, if you film a cop in any encounter where the cop might think he doesn't look that good, you face jail time, prosecution and even having your property destroyed. This example is maybe the worst I ever saw. Police in Miami Beach in May of 2011 fire upon a stationary car after a chase. I am not sure why.

There is nothing that shows someone about to fire upon them, and the person in the car wasn't found with a weapon. Maybe they had cause, I don't know, but that is the good thing about video, because if they were justified in their actions they will have that evidence on video.

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This judge looked an inmate square in the eyes and did something that left the entire courtroom in tears:

A man with his girlfriend near the scene named Narces Benoit filmed this encounter, and about a minute after the shooting was thrown to the ground by police who had pointed guns at their heads. Benoit's cell phone was intentionally smashed to the ground by the police. Benoit, though, had saved the SIM card of his phone (and hence the video) by hiding it in his mouth. Courageous act.

Saying this arrest happened because the couple might have been a physical threat is clearly shown to be not true -- because of the intentional destruction of this phone. The only fear these cops had was the fear of being filmed in a maybe wrongful shooting, and to stop that they would point guns at citizens heads.

Now, why does a citizen of the U.S. have to hide such a video anyway from the police? He shouldn't have to take actions that a French Resistance fighter in WWII might had to do, to hide material from the German army.

The police involved in the destruction of this video should be immediately fired. There is absolutely no cause for destruction of evidence/film because they don't like what might be on it. Anyone eager to abuse our rights doesn't deserve to wear a badge. It is time to get tough with those cops who abuse their authority. It will not be a bad thing to have police who honor our rights. It will also be much easier to respect them in their duties. But, unfortunately, I have a feeling they won't be fired because the thin blue line will go up throughout the command structure.