Narces Benoit claims that Miami Beach Police smashed his cellphone and threatened him at gunpoint after they noticed he had captured video of the shooting on Memorial Day Weekend. However, the police department has released a statement today claiming that they did not smash Benoit's phone, and that the officers only drew their gun at him because he matched the description of another suspect.
Benoit claimed that officers smashed his phone, threw him to the ground, and threatened him at gunpoint. He was able to hide the SIM card from the phone in his mouth, and then sold the video of both the shooting and police threatening him to CNN.
Miami Beach Police released the following statement:
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As can be noted in the video, Mr. Benoit had exited his vehicle and approached the incident scene and was observed quickly walking toward his vehicle immediately after the shooting. Because Mr. Benoit matched the description of one of the subjects just reported fleeing the scene and, further, because he ignored repeated commands as he quickly walked towards and entered his vehicle, he was detained by officers.
During the course of the investigation, Mr. Benoit was brought to the station as a witness to the incident. In a recorded statement, the investigating detective informed Mr. Benoit that his cell phone was being seized as investigative evidence and would be returned to him at a later date. Mr. Benoit signed and was provided with a copy of the Miami Beach Property Receipt.
Any and all video of the incident is crucial to the investigation, and it is not unusual for police to secure any video that may have evidentiary value. Several other phones were also secured during the course of the investigation.
Contrary to Mr. Benoit's statements to the media, the cell phone turned over to the Miami Beach Police Department is in working order; the only damage observed to the cell phone is to the lower right portion of the LCD screen and it is unknown when this damage occurred. This damage does not appear consistent with Mr. Benoit's statements to the media that his phone was "smashed."