When Samer Shehada read the news this morning, he started shaking with anger: The former Miami Beach cop who shot and killed his brother last summer had just been arrested for running a marijuana grow house.
Samer was with his brother, Husien, that night, walking down Washington Ave., just after 4 a.m. when a swarm of officers pulled up, acting on a tip that one of the brothers had a gun.
The brothers turned toward the cops, and raised their hands -- an act caught on video by the nightclub Twist's video camera. Then, inexplicably, one of the cops started shooting.
Husien, a 29-year-old from Virginia, died in his brother's arms on the sidewalk.
Since that night, Samer has told anyone who will listen that Tavss murdered his brother for no reason. Now that Tavss is under arrest, charged today with growing 47 marijuana plants in a lab in his West Kendal home, Shehada hopes prosecutors will look seriously at criminally charging him in his brother's shooting.
"It's obvious now that it wasn't a cop who killed my brother that night, it was just some thug," Shehada says.
There are three open investigations into Tavss' shootings -- which you can read about in depth here -- by Miami Beach detectives, Internal Affairs, and by the Miami Dade State Attorney's Office. The U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division has also told Shehada's family they're monitoring the situation.
But to Samer Shehada, Tavss arrest after a 4:30 p.m. raid at his house yesterday is just the latest evidence of the Miami Beach PD's negligence.
A fellow cop reported Tavss for allegedly using cocaine at a holiday Christmas party in 2007, but Internal Affairs waited months to investigate and drug test him. Tavss finally resigned from the department in November after failing a drug test.
"You don't just start doing drugs in November and then have a whole grow house in your apartment in May. This has been going on with this guy for a long time," says Samer, who is an engineer living in Virginia. "They didn't investigate the complaints against him early in his career, and they didn't check him out before the hired him."
Shehada hopes to file a civil suit against the department. His lawyers say Tavss' arrest helps their case that the department acted negligently in keeping the officer on duty.
"What are they going to say now? That he's a bad apple, that this is an isolated incident, that it doesn't reflect on the department, which is what they always say. But it shows the opposite," says Gregory Samms, one of Shehada's lawyers. "Instead of disciplining him and dealing with him, they covered for him and allowed him to stay on the force."
Deborah Doty, a Miami Beach PD spokeswoman, didn't return Riptide's call for a comment. She talked to the Herald this morning, saying: ``We have a lot of good people who work for our department. We don't want this to reflect on any of our officers.''
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Tavss case isn't filed online yet, so it's not clear who is representing him or how he will plead.
Samer says he hopes the criminal charges against the former cop don't stop with the pot case.
"I want to see this guy indicted. I want criminal charges filed," he says.