Florida prosecutors won’t seek charges against a dozen police officers who unleashed a hail of bullets that killed a fleeing black man and injured four bystanders on a crowded South Beach street during Memorial Day Weekend celebrations in 2011.
“All of the officers were justified in the discharge of their firearms,” said a nearly 90-page report released by the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s office late Tuesday.
The decision hinged on Florida’s “fleeing felon” law, which gives law enforcement the ability to use force to defend themselves or others while making an arrest.
The release of the report comes as police around the country are under intense scrutiny for fatal shooting incidents, notably the killing of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri.
The incident, which drew national attention, began when officers stopped 22-year-old Raymond Herisse at about 4 a.m. after seeing him spinning his car’s tires in traffic. When they approached the car they say Herisse reached over the passenger side seat, the report said. Police lunged for Herisse’s arm prompting him to swerve away, hitting an officer in the process.
Later Herisse crashed into a handful of bystanders’ cars and nearly hit several more officers on bicycles before coming to a stop. As police surrounded the car he attempted to drive off again.
Police fired 130 rounds at Herisse’s car, according to the report, hitting him 16 times. After the shooting police say they found a Beretta handgun under the rear passenger seat, but evidence showed Herisse did not fire the weapon.
The incident was caught on video from nearby buildings and posted on YouTube.
It spawned a slew of lawsuits from furious family members, as well as a number of changes in how police handle Miami Beach’s predominantly black Memorial Day celebrations.
The Miami Beach police department also faces scrutiny following the tasing death of 18-year-old Israel Hernandez-Llach in the summer of 2013. An investigation into that incident is still pending.
“The family is disappointed in the outcome, but they are very happy that questions they’ve had for four years have been answered,” Herisse’s family’s attorney Marwan Porter told the Miami Herald. “Raymond did not shoot a gun at any officer.”
Last year Miami Beach police issued a policy change saying officers may no longer shoot at moving cars.
(Reporting by Zachary Fagenson; Editing by David Adams and Lisa Lambert)
Russians to prod Putin on poverty and his personal life as his ratings tank
Russians are set to ask President Vladimir Putin about growing poverty at home and tensions abroad during an annual televised phone-in Thursday, which comes following a fall in his approval ratings.
The leader is also likely to face a degree of grilling on his personal life, according to questions submitted by the public online ahead of the live show.
Set to be held for the 17th time since Putin came to power in 1999, the show starts at 0900 GMT and usually lasts several hours.
Ahead of the carefully choreographed show, more than one million questions had been submitted, organisers told Russian news agencies.
Trump could turn on Hope Hicks just like Michael Cohen: Trump family biographer warns
Trump family biographer Emily Jane Fox explained that she didn't think that the president would turn on long-time aide Hope Hicks, but then again, it was the same thought about Michael Cohen as well.
In a panel discussion about Hicks' testimony during MSNBC's Brian Williams' Wednesday show, Fox recalled that Micahel Cohen once said that he would take a bullet for the president. Once it appeared that Trump would throw him under the bus, Cohen began looking for a way out.
The same scenario seems to be happening with Hicks now.
"She works at new Fox, which is a company run by a Murdoch son," Fox said. "It's a company that's brand new. She's the head of communications there. And there are shareholders who would take issue with the fact that a senior member of this company is being put in this situation and being thrust on the world stage."
Trump jumped to Speaker Pelosi’s defense in marathon Fox News interview
In a strange twist, President Donald Trump appeared to defend House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity Wednesday.
Hannity began by saying to Trump that he believes Pelosi has lost control of her own party, as officials like Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) continue to call for impeachment.
"I say Nancy Pelosi is the speaker in name only," Hannity told Trump, calling Ocasio-Cortez the real start.
But what Trump said was the unusual point.
"I think Nancy Pelosi probably has control of it, I hear different things, but I think she does," Trump said, appearing to defend the Speaker. "She knows what she's doing. We will see how it all comes out."