Miami Beach police: Man dove into water to escape officers

Giovanni Raffo with fleeing, battery on law enforcement officer


MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Miami Beach police arrest a man who hit an officer with his car and dove into the water below the Venetian Causeway in an attempt to get away from police officers, according to the arrest affidavit.

Police arrested 26-year-old Giovanni Raffo early Tuesday.

An officer pulled over Raffo in the 1000 block of Ocean Drive about 10:38 p.m. Monday because he wasn't wearing a seatbelt and his car obstructed the flow of traffic, according to the affidavit.

When the officer approached Raffo's Mercedes, he saw Raffo reach toward the drivers side door with his left hand and reach underneath his seat with his right hand, police say. The officer drew his firearm and ordered Raffo to put the car in park and get out.

Instead, Raffo turned the car toward the officer and accelerated in an attempt to hit him, police say.

Raffo headed northbound on Ocean Drive before two officers stopped him in the 1400 block, police say. He put the car in reverse, hit one of the officer's elbows with the side mirror, and headed toward the Venetian Causeway.

While heading westbound, Raffo hit the bridge draw sticks that were being lowered by the drawbridge attendant, police say. He got out of the car and jumped into the waterway.

Raffo was apprehended underneath the dock of the Sea Isle Marina & Yachting Center, police say.

Raffo faces several charges, including battery on a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, and fleeing and eluding a marked vehicle at a high rate of speed.