Cops on Miami Beach, like those in Miami, can be rough at times. Clubgoers, homeless guys, and even the famous bicycle-riding resident rooster, Mr. Clucky, have felt their wrath.
But until recently, there was one thing Beach officers didn't do: kill people. Or at least they hadn't done so since 2003. Then last month, an officer named Adam Tavss was involved in two fatal shootings within a week. First he gunned down an unarmed 29-year-old Palestinian-American tourist named Husien Shehada outside SoBe's Twist nightclub in the wee hours of June 14. Washington, D.C.'s American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee deemed the incident "troubling" and called a candlelight vigil.
Miami Beach higherups weren't as troubled, though. Per department policy, they sent Tavss back to his beat four days later. He wasn't gun shy. That night, he and another officer shot dead 29-year-old Lawrence McCoy, who had allegedly carjacked a taxi and driven it the wrong way on the MacArthur Causeway.
The Shehada family called it "unconscionable" that "[Husien's] body is almost still warm and [Tavss] is sporting a badge and a gun and discharging his firearm on the streets of South Beach yet again."
While the police union supports Tavss and faults Chief Carlos Noriega for not standing behind the cop, the scramble to find out more about this real-life Dirty Harry has been launched.
What we know: Tavss is 34 years old and has served on the force for three years. He attended Miami Killian Senior High, and in 1999, a South Miami woman filed a restraining order against him, alleging "repeat violence." There's no record the former teacher had ever fired his gun before — although in 2007, another officer accused him of snorting cocaine at a Christmas party. He passed a drug test the next day and was not reprimanded.
Tavss lives in a two-bedroom $173,000 condo in South Miami and has locked down his MySpace page. His status on the page is listed as "insubordinate."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.