Family of man shot 16 times by police in Miami files lawsuit

Reuters News
Posted: May 21, 2013 2:32 PM

MIAMI (Reuters) - The family of a 22-year-old man who was shot 16 times by police two years ago during a hip-hop festival in Miami Beach filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Tuesday against two Miami area police departments.

Officers fired more than 100 shots at the vehicle of Raymond Herisse after police said he was driving erratically and refused an officer's request to pull over during Miami Beach's Urban Beach Weekend, according to police records.

The festival, held annually on Memorial Day weekend, draws hundreds of thousands of people from across the country.

Marwan Porter, an attorney for Herisse's family, said the officers responded with excessive force. He also criticized police officials for failing to release more information about the shooting.

"Why did the officers feel that day it was necessary to utilize that type of force?" Porter asked. "It took us almost two years to even get basic information that we were entitled to determine what happened."

The lawsuit was filed against the police departments of the cities of Miami Beach and Hialeah and also against city officials. It seeks unspecified damages for Herisse's death.

Prosecutors are investigating the killing and have yet to determine whether the officers were justified in using lethal force. Four bystanders were also injured when police opened fire.

Police initially said they believed Herisse fired gunshots from his car. Officials found a gun under a seat in his vehicle, but a gunshot residue test indicated Herisse had not fired the weapon, according to an autopsy report.

An amateur video shot on the night of the killing, which was viewed by Reuters, showed Herisse's speeding car coming to a halt before police surrounded the vehicle and opened fire.

Porter said he eventually obtained copies of Herisse's autopsy report and several other documents related to the case after he filed a public records lawsuit on behalf of the family.

(Additional reporting by David Adams writing by Kevin Gray; editing by Matthew Lewis)