Protesters from violent demonstration in Miami in May arrested

One charged with stealing bulletproof vest from smashed patrol car, the other assaulted officer with large rock

Ethan Moise Berdah and Oriana Virginia Albornoz attended a protest on May 30. They were both charged in connection with incidents that happened during Miami protests. (WPLG)

MIAMI, Fla. – A 19-year-old man who police said stole a bulletproof vest out of a marked Miami police car and a 25-year-old woman who threw a large rock that injured an officer during the first weekend of protests at the end of May were arrested Monday.

On Saturday, May 30, a group of protesters blocked the roadway in the back of the Miami Police Department after a day-long peaceful protest that turned violent around nightfall.

Ethan Moise Berdah, 19, of Miami, and Oriana Virginia Albornoz, 25, of Pompano Beach, were arrested June 22 from incidents that happened near the Miami Police Department.

Investigators said that a bulletproof vest was stolen out of a car that had its windows smashed at the department’s rear gate. After Berdah was identified on social media wearing a vest that matched the description of the one taken, investigators from the FBI and Aventura police showed up at Berdah’s residence. A police report said that the teen stepped onto his front porch to speak with the investigators. They told him that they knew he had taken the vest and they wanted it returned.

He did not have the vest, but told investigators he would get it returned. On June 13, investigators met Berdah in Weston where he gave the vest back to police. They questioned him if he had been paid to be at the riot or if he was part of any terrorist or foreign organization. He said he wasn’t.

On June 22, the Miami Police Department's Felony Apprehension Team attempted to arrest Berdah at his home for the theft when he fled. Detectives chased him into the home where he was placed under arrest. He was charged with one count of grand theft/law enforcement emergency vehicle equipment, burglary, and resisting an officer for the fleeing incident.

One of the officers that was part of the response platoon that was station at the rear of the police station on May 30, identified Albornoz as the person who threw a large rock, which struck the officer in the leg, injuring him. He said he was not able to apprehend Albornoz at the time due to the mayhem happening that night. The officer identified the person who threw the object as a female, wearing a white T-shirt with red writing on it.

She was later identified through an investigation and was taken into custody by the City of Miami Police Felony Apprehension Team. Albornoz told police that she attended the protest, but said she denied throwing any objects.

The officer identified the woman as Albornoz because he said that she stood just feet away from him several times. The police report said the officer was wearing a body camera.

Albornoz was charged with one count of battery on a police officer.

About the Author:

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local