An Active Crime Scene

A group of about a dozen gunmen surround a car stopped at a Miami Beach intersection and open fire, the muzzle flashes from their weapons lighting up the night. After brutally murdering the driver, and injuring four innocent bystanders, some of the gunmen start going after witnesses, assaulting them, stealing or breaking their cell phones in an attempt to cover up their actions. Detective Juan Sanchez described it as “an active crime scene.”

It was indeed. But perhaps not the type of crime scene we’ve all been conditioned to expect, since the gunmen described above were themselves Miami Beach cops. Their attempts to confiscate any incriminating video evidence of their deed is being portrayed as standard procedure in their search for suspects. Suspects? What suspects? I think all of the suspects in this case are captured in the cell phone video standing in a circle shooting (which may explain why three cops were injured as well).

One witness, Ericka Davis, whose mother is also a cop, stated that she could hear guns clicking as they continued pulling the trigger long after they had fired all of their bullets. “I think that’s excessive,” she said. Well, that’s an understatement.

The video was recorded by Narces Benoit, who was sitting in his truck with Davis when the shooting began. The video clearly shows a bicycle cop approach him with his gun drawn while another cop orders him to stop recording. Benoit was clever enough to remove the SIM card and hide it before they confiscated his phone (and allegedly broke it).

This incident just happened on Memorial Day, and obviously the investigation is ongoing, but one thing is clear from what has been reported so far. Benoit’s behavior is not that of a suspect, and the actions of the cops who assaulted him seem to go far beyond simply looking for documentary evidence. Regardless of what the driver might have done to provoke this gangland style slaying, there are certainly a few more guilty parties involved — or at least parties who are acting like they have something to hide.

[Update Aug 4, 2013] According to the New York Times, no progress has been made in the case, with the determination of whether excessive force was used being turned over to state investigators.

[Update Mar 29, 2016] It took almost five years, but according to the Miami Herald, police were justified in using deadly force against the driver of the car, so no charges will be filed against them. However, the mother of the victim, as well as several innocent bystanders who were shot in the hail of bullets, will share a $200,000 settlement with the police departments involved. But as the victim’s mother said, “there was no justice. “No one went to prison. No one was punished.”

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