Miami Cop: I Didn't Taser Homeless Man, Just Scared the Crap Out of Him

A Taser X-26 similar to the ones used by Miami Police.
A Taser X-26 similar to the ones used by Miami Police.

Last week, New Times reported that Miami Police Officer Vincent Miller was being suspended for misusing his Taser. A bystander testified he saw Miller shock a homeless man for no reason. It was later found that the officer never reported the incident.

Documents obtained by New Times now provide the officer's side of the story: He didn't taser the homeless man, he claims. He simply scared the crap out him.

Contrary to the bystander's sworn statement, Miller told investigators he never pressed the Taser to the homeless man's chest. Instead, he sparked up the 50,000-volt weapon "to show him I was not playing."

See also: Miami Police: Cop Will Be Punished for Misusing Taser and Covering It Up

New Times revealed this past December the incident involving Miller in an investigation into Taser misuse by local cops. At the time, Miami Police declined to comment on the case because it was still open.

Last week, New Times learned that Miller would be suspended. And yesterday, Miami Police provided a copy of the close-out decision for its internal affairs investigation.

Contrary to a sworn statement from bystander Richard Rosengarten -- who is now a federal law clerk -- Miller told investigators he never actually used the Taser on the homeless man inside Publix November 15, 2013.

Instead, Miller claimed, he merely turned on the Taser and held up the crackling weapon to "to show [the homeless man] I was not playing."

This account contradicts that of Rosengarten, who has repeatedly said he heard the homeless man howl in pain when Miller tasered him.

Miller also claimed he never covered up the incident.

An American soldier gets tasered as part of his training.
An American soldier gets tasered as part of his training.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Michael J. Carden via Wikimedia Commons

"Officer Miller stated he did not notify anyone of the E.C.D. [Taser] discharge but believed he had documented it on his E.C.D. log, which he failed to provide because he was not able to find his log for the date of this incident," according to the IA report.

"Officer Miller was not authorized to use his E.C.D. under the circumstances described or for the purpose which he used it, which demonstrates that Officer Miller's actions were an unauthorized application of force," IA investigators concluded.

According to the disciplinary memo, Miller broke nine departmental orders. Investigators sustained charges of abusive treatment and improper procedure against the veteran cop but found an allegation of discourtesy to be inconclusive.

Miller has been suspended for 40 hours and blocked from working off-duty at the Publix supermarket where the incident took place.

But it appears as if his claims -- about never actually tasering the homeless man -- threw enough doubt on the case to avoid harsher punishment.

Miller can still appeal his suspension.

On the IA form, he put his initials next to two boxes: "I disagree with the facts stated. I disagree with the recommended penalty."

Send your tips to the author, or follow him on Twitter @MikeMillerMiami.


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