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Video of Miami-Dade arrest shows officer kneeling on man who says ‘I can’t breathe'

Footage of the 2018 incident is now under review

Video shows officer kneeling on man who says ‘I can’t breathe' in Miami-Dade
Video shows officer kneeling on man who says ‘I can’t breathe' in Miami-Dade

MIAMI – Bodyworn camera footage shows a Miami-Dade police officer kneeling on a man’s back and pulling on his wrists as he’s handcuffed facedown on the ground.

In the video from August 2018, you hear Keeler Harris repeatedly say “I can’t breathe” as the officer tells him not to get up.

The incident is now under review, the police department says.

According to the arrest report, it began when investigators spotted a car they believed may be stolen and Harris inside of it.

Video shows Harris take off running. Officers say he resisted when they took him into custody on NW 135th Street.

“I can’t breathe. My face is in the dirt,” Harris is heard saying as the officer repeats, “Do not get up.”

NACCP: Miami-Dade arrest is very similar to Floyd's
NACCP: Miami-Dade arrest is very similar to Floyd's

“There is not one point in the video where Mr. Harris hits anyone,” says attorney Sebastian Ohanian.

The video does show one officer punching Harris as he tries to get handcuffs on.

“He got handcuffed. He was face down in the grass against the fence,” Ohanian said.

The attorney says there was no reason for what happened next.

Another officer walked up and knelt down, putting his weight on top of Harris.

“He puts his knee on Keeler’s neck, choking him,” Ohanian said. “Grabs his wrist and puts him in a wrist lock.”

He says the action snapped Harris’ bone, requiring him to get a rod put in his arm.

“No matter what had happened before, the actions at this point in time were not justified at all,” Ohanian said. “At all.”

Harris is still in jail facing charges of felony battery on a law enforcement officer. The state attorney’s office has not commented on the video but says his trial is set for Sept. 29.

Miami-Dade police say they have not received any official complaint about this incident, though Ohanian did send a legal letter to one of their departments. But they are now reviewing the matter.

About the Authors:

Amy Viteri is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who joined Local 10 News in September 2015. She's currently an investigative reporter and enjoys uncovering issues facing South Florida communities. A native of the Washington, D.C., area, she's happy to be back in South Florida, where she earned a masters degree at the University of Miami.

Christian De La Rosa joined Local 10 News in April 2017 after spending time as a reporter and anchor in Atlanta, San Diego, Orlando and Panama City Beach.