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Police tasers don’t stop homeless man who wanted to be arrested to ‘get bath, meal and place to sleep’

Assistant chief says situation could have been much worse if Miami police officers didn’t stick to using tasers

Video posted on social media shows the tense confrontation Thursday between a homeless man and a Miami police officer.

MIAMI, Fla. – The attorney for a man appearing in court Friday morning said her client confessed to trying to burglarize a police car. She also told the judge that the homeless man wanted to “get arrested to get a bath, a meal and a place to sleep.”

Meanwhile, Miami’s police chief said that the incident could have been much worse as officers stuck with using non-lethal force in the way of tasers to subdue him.

Tense moments between Derek Edward Peivandi and a Miami police officer were caught on cell phone video as Peivandi threatened Miami Police Officer James Marte in the middle of the road in the 1700 block of North Bayshore Drive on Thursday.

Assistant police chief Manuel Morales said that Peivandi, 37, was spitting on the officer and challenged him to shoot him, but Morales said how officers handled the interaction may have saved lives.

“He was actually taunting the officer, screaming at him ‘shoot me. shoot me.’ He was screaming profanities at him, challenging his manhood. so the officer used an incredible amount of restraint (in this situation),” Morales said.

It played out in front of Margaret Pace Park in the late afternoon Thursday on a busy Miami street as dozens of people watched in shock as Peivandi continued to walk towards the officer.

According to the arrest report, Marte was out of his patrol car dealing with an unrelated parking issue. As he was speaking to a witness, he noticed the man, later identified as Peivandi, attempting to open the driver’s side door of his patrol car. Marte said he approached Peivandi and asked him what he was doing. Peivandi said “Naw am trying to steal that s---” and then began to yell that he was going to kill the officer. He then began running towards the officer with an object in his right hand, according to the report.

The officer told the man to get back, but the police report said Peivandi kept walking towards him. That’s when Marte discharged his taser and called for other officers for assistance.

Morales said Marte relied on his training in de-escalation by backing up to create space and keeping his cool even when his and arriving back-up officer Rafael Guerrero’s taser failed to penetrate Peivandi’s sweater.

The report stated that Pievandi continued to refuse commands to get on the ground. Eventually, officers were able to subdue him and take him into custody.

“They deployed their non-lethal weapons. When they saw they were ineffective, they waited for back up,” Morales said. “At any moment, that situation could have turned tragic. It could have ended in a loss of a life, not only for the suspect, but for the officer.”

On Friday, a judge asked Peivandi how long he had been in Miami.

“About six months,” he stated. It was not clear where Peivandi had been before he arrived in Miami.

Police said Pievandi was holding something during the encounter. It turned out it was a pair of flip flops, but officers did not know that at the time.

He’s facing several charges, including aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, disorderly conduct, burglary, and two counts of resisting an officer without violence, Pievandi’s bond was set at $7,500. He will appear again in court on June 3.

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.

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 10.com.