MIAMI - First, they were under fire for unleashing a barrage of more than one hundred bullets on a car occupied by an unarmed man. Then, they found themselves fighting off allegations of corruption and tampering with evidence.
Now, the Miami Beach Police Department find itself in the crosshairs of a local judge for refusing to follow her court order.
"I'm wondering if anybody had any thoughts about how the court can analyze these competing complaints," a visibly irritated Miami -Dade Circuit Judge Victoria Sigler asked attorneys during a hearing Wednesday.
On one side of the courtroom were lawyers representing the Miami Beach Police Department. On the other, the attorneys handling the cases of 22-year-old Raymond Herisse, who was killed in the gunfire, and the four wounded bystanders.
"Audio recordings, video recordings -- all of that is evidence leading up to the first shot being fired," explained Jasmine Rand, an attorney for one of the wounded bystanders. "The reason that evidence is so critical is because we need to know why in fact the police fired the first shot and whether or not the use of force was excessive in nature."
In April, Sigler ordered the city to give up all crime scene photos, autopsy pictures, as well as video and audio recordings. The Police Department sent over a package, but the victim's lawyers insist it was missing many items, including the taped conversations between officers on the street and the dispatcher that morning, and several pictures.
That set off the judge, who gave the police department attorneys a scolding.
"May they be color, may they be black and white, may they be moving, may they be still, maybe they exist on CD, maybe they exist in the old film negatives -- I don't care what you call them," said Sigler. "If somebody took a coloring book and colored some pictures of Mr. Herisse as he lay dead in the street, it is your obligation to turn them over now."
The judge gave Miami Beach attorneys 24 hours to turn over anything they haven't. Next week, there will be another hearing, at which time she will decide whether to sanction the city.
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