Man in Miami rough arrest video suffered seizure, relatives say

MIAMI – A man who was injured during an arrest on Sunday in Miami was back in the hospital on Monday after he suffered a seizure, his relatives said.

The Miami Police Department released an arrest form identifying Leskeil Shakeil Richards, a fugitive from Broward County, as the subject of a rough arrest video in Miami’s Liberty City.

Richards then escaped custody at Jackson Memorial Hospital late Monday afternoon, police said.

Richards, 25, of Sunrise, had a probation violation warrant for a robbery and battery, and an officer reported he believed he was doing what he could to prevent him from finding out. In the arrest form, the officer wrote: “Redirected the defendant to the ground. Physical force was used on the defendant.”

The arrest form doesn’t describe the physical force, but there were several witnesses. Nini Milton said she saw an officer punch Richards in the face and put him in a headlock, and another officer intentionally short-kick him and she has the video to prove it.

Officers reported Richards underwent a medical check-up on Sunday at Jackson Memorial Hospital before officers took him to jail, according to the arrest report. On Monday, relatives said Richards was back at Jackson Memorial.

Miami Police Department’s Interim Chief Ronald L. Papier released a statement on Monday saying the department is reviewing all of the video and testimonial evidence related to the use of force and will take appropriate action if any violations are identified.

As it’s customary, the police report omits the Miami police officers’ first names and identifies them as M. Sevilla, A. Gomez, and E. Socarras. Iesha Richards, the defendant’s sister, was among the witnesses of the arrest.

“Their job is to protect and serve, not to abuse,” she said. “What they did was not right.”

She said she was driving a black Land Rover on Sunday with her brother when a Miami police officer ordered her to stop at Northwest 18th Avenue and 62nd Street.

Sevilla, the officer performing the traffic stop, reported Leskeil Richards was in the passenger seat and had not been wearing a seat belt when the Land Rover was traveling westbound on Northwest 62nd Street from Northwest 17th Avenue.

Iesha Richards did not come to a complete traffic stop at Northwest 22nd Avenue, Sevilla reported. She said she received a traffic ticket. Sevilla also reported Leskeil Richards had moved to the back seat and he was “pretending” to be asleep.

“I initially observed the defendant seating (sitting) in the front passenger seat wide awake when the vehicle was in motion,” Sevilla wrote. “I believed that the defendant was trying to conceal himself and avoiding contact with police.”

Sevilla reported fearing Leskeil Richards was hiding a weapon, requested backup, asked him to get out of the car, and attempted to conduct a patdown.

“I believed he was attempting to take flight. I placed my hand around the defendant’s ribcage and told him to relax. The defendant continued to try and walk towards the rear of the vehicle, so I quickly placed his right arm to the rear of his back,” Sevilla wrote in his report.

Socarras, who arrived to assist Sevilla, struggled to grab Leskeil Richards’ left arm because he was holding on to the top portion of the vehicle, Sevilla wrote.

Leskeil Richards squeezed Socarras’ right wrist “causing pain,” according to Sevilla. Iesha Richards said her brother was on the ground and overpowered when she asked them to stop hurting him.

Milton, who recorded a video, said she and other bystanders decided to yell at police officers to make them aware that they were watching them hurt Richards.

”A video is worth a thousand words,” Milton said.

After Richards was in handcuffs, he provided a false name and date of birth, Sevilla reported. While he was in a police car, officers used a rapid identification device to connect his fingerprint to his file in a database, Sevilla reported.

According to Broward Circuit Judge Barbara McCarthy’s Sept. 3, 2020 warrant, Richards was a fugitive who had violated the terms of an Oct. 3, 2019 community control order. The warrant describes him as 5-foot 11 inches tall and 127 pounds; Sunday’s arrest form describes him as weighing 190 pounds.

In the warrant, McCarthy warned Richards had a history of violence, weapons possession, and resisting arrest. The tattoos listed in the warrant include “Kimba, RIP, L19, Self, 327, and dice” on his right arm, “King” on his right hand, and “Troop” on his left hand.

Iesha Richards said she was worried about her brother’s future and she believes racism was to blame for the way the officers treated him.

“No matter what they do say, or whatever, because of how he looks, he is still human,” she said.

Milton’s video also shows what appears to be a tense conversation between a Black uniformed Miami-Dade Police Department officer and one of the Miami police officers involved in the arrest.

Iesha Richards said the same Miami-Dade police officer also tried to comfort her.

“At that point, I knew that he knew what they were doing was wrong,” she said.

About the Authors:

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.