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Police: Man arrested months after vandalizing Miami police car during protest

Sebastian Romero.
Sebastian Romero. (Hernando County Sheriff's Office)

MIAMI – A 19-year-old man was arrested last week in Hernando County, months after he was involved in a protest that turned violent in the city of Miami, authorities said.

Sebastian Manuel Romero was taken into custody last Friday by the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office and was extradited to Miami to face charges of inciting a riot and felony criminal mischief.

According to Miami police, a large group of protesters blocked the roadway adjacent to the rear of the Miami Police Department on May 30.

Police said the protest started off peaceful, but some people involved in the protest eventually became violent.

According to authorities, several people were seen throwing bottles, rocks and large pieces of debris at Miami police officers and vehicles.

Several officers were injured during the ordeal and several Miami police vehicles were burglarized, vandalized and/or set on fire.

Police said video posted to social media showed a Hispanic man wearing a black T-shirt and carrying a black backpack and a Venezuelan flag-themed cap using a cooler to shatter the front and back windshields of a parked police car.

The man was also captured on video using the cooler to damage the hood and trunk of the car, authorities said.

Police said others joined in and the car was ultimately set on fire.

“Ironically, the vehicle that was the target of the looters' rage was assigned to a Miami Police Academy instructor who trains police officers in de-escalation techniques,” a news release from the Miami Police Department stated.

According to authorities, detectives identified Romero as the suspect with the cooler on July 31.

Police said he was apprehended at his new home in Weeki Wachee.

“To date, Miami Police detectives have apprehended seven suspects responsible for lawless behavior that has nothing to do with peaceful protest,” the news release stated. “We value peaceful protest as a cherished constitutional right, but we will not tolerate violence and acts of vandalism, and we will hold those engaging in such behavior accountable. In keeping with our commitment to ensure public safety, we will not cease in this effort until everyone engaged in such behavior is identified and apprehended.”

Anyone with further information about the case and others involved are asked to call the Miami Police Department at 305-579-6111. Anonymous tips can be made by calling Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477.


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