The details are still coming out about two shootings in South Beach early Monday morning that reportedly left three police officers in the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, one person dead, and another four people hospitalized. A two-minute video, shot from several stories above Collins Avenue, shows at least five police officers bombard a stopped car with gunfire. One of the officers then shines a flashlight into the driver’s side window, presumably to check for signs of life. “O, they killed everyone,” says the man shooting the video. The driver of the car was killed and four bystanders injured in the shootout, which took place at 4 a.m. Monday morning, according to a Herald article. Police believe the shooting followed an altercation between the driver and a police officer.
Update: The name of the person killed in the first shooting was Raymond Herisse, according to Jim Defede of CBS4. Twelve police officers — four form Hialeah and eight from Miami Beach — fired more than 100 rounds in the shooting, killing Herisse, who was 22 years old, and possibly wounding four innocent bystanders. Police have yet to confirm that Herisse had a gun or fired any shots. It is also still unclear whether anyone else was in the car with Herisse, who allegedly endangered several police officers while recklessly driving down Collins Avenue immediately before the shooting.
Update: Police say they have found a weapon in Herisse’s car. Quoth the Herald: “It took police several days to find the weapon because it was out of sight, [Miami Beach Police Chief Carlos] Noriega said. Investigators first had focused on processing the crime scenes and on talking to witnesses, he said.”
Update (from a June 2 follow-up article): “A West Palm Beach couple who filmed Monday morning’s deadly officer-involved shooting on South Beach has accused officers of intimidation, destroying evidence and twisting the facts in the chaos surrounding the Memorial Day shootings – a charge that police officials say they know nothing about.
Update: Someone has posted a fairly decent quality and very troubling cell phone video of the shooting. At one point after the shooting, an officer points his gun at the person shooting the video. You can view it on YouTube.
Update (from a June 3 follow-up article): “A Tallahassee man says he ‘wants justice’ after police shot him in the chest during the Memorial Day shootout on South Beach. ‘The bullet is still inside my chest,’ Cedrick Perkins, 30, said Friday afternoon.
Perkins says he was lounging on a bench with some friends on the front porch of The Delores Hotel, 1420 Collins Ave., when he heard ‘multiple gunshots’ and saw a blue Hyundai pass him heading south. He says he saw police officers firing from across the street
Perkins said the officers were shooting even though there were crowds of people across from them on the street and in front of the hotel.”
Meanwhile, a South Carolina man charged with DUI in a second officer-involved shooting that morning says he is innocent.”
A second shooting took place on 14th Street and Washington Avenue. “The driver of a grey Mercedes drove into the sectioned-off area and accelerated toward a police officer,” according to the Herald. “She fired at him until he crashed and officers arrested him. No one was injured in the second shooting.”
The shootings took place during “Urban Beach Week”, an annual event marketed heavily to a young black audience. The Herald story has elicited more than 400 comments, many of them exposing Miami as a city rife with racial animus and distrust of law enforcement. A few examples:
“The violence that comes with Urban Beach Week, the stuff that no one wants to talk about in polite politically correct company, is becoming a cliche. I know I should wait until I get all the facts but cliches are rooted in repeated instances and I suspect the odds are the cops shot black men since the beach during Memorial Day has become a great ambling aimless parade of black hip hop culture. But I could be wrong and if so, I apologize in advance for drawing the wrong conclusion.” — Call me MR. Jaded!, 142 likes
“I don’t go to the beach on Memorial Day weekend because of the disproportionate attendance of aggressive men with a chip on their shoulders who think society owes them something. They say it’s discrimination but the same occurrences don’t happen when other events come to town. Art Festivals, Film Festivals, Art Basel, Fashion Week, White Party etc. It’s obvious Urban Beach Week will fizzle just like Spring Break for College Students did back in the 90s. It’s just not worth it because they don’t have money to begin with so they don’t tip well if at all, the crime skyrockets, and they trash the place. Au revoir Urban Beach Week and good riddance to bad rubbish.” — meteorite, 89 likes
“I bet decent areas would just love for the “Urban Blacks” to congregate somewhere else. All those damning the police, seem to ignore the criminality of the “Urban Blacks!” I wonder how violent the police have been in that area until the “Urban Blacks” showed up? What is the cause and what is the effect here?” — HMichaelH, 3 likes
“I agree that the necessity of this ridiculous “festival” needs to be reviewed as it does attract a certain element of thuggishness that we could all do without. However, I do not agree with many of the downright racist comments here, highlighting only that Miami is the opposite of a melting pot. You seem to think that it’s only black people responsible for these things, when many of these crimes are also committed by the other limited number of ethnic groups in Miami.” — Gill Man, 0 likes
“Is anyone surprised that something like this would happen this weekend?” — Richard Nixon 2012, 0 likes
Police have not confirmed the race of anyone involved in the shooting.
The president of Hispanic gay-rights group Unity Coalition Herb Sosa has also chimed in re “Urban Beach Week” with an open letter to Miami Beach mayor Matti Herrera Bower. An excerpt:
[The video] shows our city as nothing short of a warzone – Filthy streets, a drive by shooting, multiple cars crashed in the process, and total chaos on the streets. This is unacceptable and must be controlled before we totally lose our city, tourism & residents. It is not limited to Ocean Drive or Collins – there isn’t a residential street in South Beach not affected by tons of garbage, crime to our vehicles, excessive noise 24 hours a day, and simply a lack of respect for our community, citizens & property. THIS is the image the world see of our “American Riviera”.
When did perceived political or social correctness override the safety & well-being of a community? This is not a race, economic or ethnic issue, it is an issue of visitors who have a total lack of respect for our community, its property & citizens. I know hotel rooms are filled, but at what price and for how long?
Read the full letter on the Herald’s Gay South Florida blog.