Miami-Dade Police Arrest Blind Man, Drop Him Off Miles From Home With No Phone
Tannie "T-Man" Burke, 21, tells CBS4 that he's used to being hassled by cops even though he's never been convicted of a crime. He's been arrested twice and detained several other times, he believes, simply because he's a young black man.
"I feel they stop me because they see a black man walking down the street," he tells Jim Defede. "I don't know what to say about it. I just feel bad about it. That's it."
But his arrest on August 27 seemed particularly cruel and strange. Burke is blind, and after police arrested him on suspicion of marijuana possession they put him in the back of a cop car. They never took him in to be booked, he says, and then dropped him at night in a desolate area nearly a mile from his home and didn't offer help getting home.
According to CBS4, four plain-clothes officers drove down a dead-end street in South Miami at about 8:30 p.m. and found Burke and two of his friends. The police believed they saw the men passing a joint. No marijuana was found on any of the men, but they did find a marijuana cigarette nearby on the ground.
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All three men were arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession, and Burke's two other friends were released on the spot.
The scene caused others to gather around, including Burke's stepfather, Marvin Armstrong, who began filming the incident. Armstrong also became mouthy when informing police that his stepson was blind.
"He's blind, dumbass," he told one of the officers.
Though the others were released, the officers decided to put Burke in the back of the car. He says he was driven around for 20 minutes before being dropped off somewhere in Goulds. He asked the officers if they could drop him somewhere off closer to home, but they refused.
Burke is completely blind in one eye and can only see blurry shapes out of the other, though usually only during the day. He says the area he was dropped didn't even have street lights. Burke was also without a phone.
He started walking on the edge of the road (there wasn't a sidewalk in the area) and eventually came across a stranger who helped him get home.
As for the marijuana charges, they were dismissed by a prosecutor.
MDPD says they're investigating the incident.
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