The video is dark and grainy, but according to the family and attorneys of Junior Prosper, it shows a Miami-Dade Police officer fatally shooting the unarmed cab driver as he crawled away along I-95.
The footage — obtained from a nearby business — is a key piece of evidence in a new federal wrongful-death lawsuit being brought by the widow of 31-year-old Prosper.
"Every single day, his 4-year-old son asks for him," Edeline Prosper says, "and I don't know what to tell him."
The Yellow Cab driver was unarmed when MDPD Officer Anthony Martin shot him during a bizarre confrontation that began around 5 a.m. September 28, 2015, after Prosper crashed his taxi on an interstate onramp off NW 119th Street.
The way police told the story, Prosper ran up the onramp and tried to run into traffic before an unnamed cop tried to stop him.
When the officer caught Prosper, a scuffle ensued and Prosper bit the officer's finger hard enough that it was severed, according to police. That's when the officer discharged his firearm, killing Prosper. The shooting tied up traffic along the interstate for several hours that Monday morning.
But at a news conference at the federal courthouse today, Prosper's attorneys said that he had posed no threat — and that the video backs them up. Attorney Michael Oppenheimer said authorities have refused to turn over medical records to back up the officer's story, at one point even suggesting the officer might have bitten his own finger. Regardless, Prosper was unarmed and should not have been killed, the attorney said.
Junior Prosper's family held photos of him during a news conference Wednesday. His wife Edeline is on the far right.
Photo by Brittany Shammas
Prosper was in the 11th hour of a 12-hour shift when the incident began, Oppenheimer said. He was eager to get home, where he and his pregnant wife were raising three children.
"Everybody wanted Junior to come home, but Miami-Dade Officer Martin decided that wasn't going to happen," the attorney said. "No one deserves to die like that."
He said Prosper stopped on the interstate and ran up the onramp for reasons that remain unknown because authorities refuse to turn over records from the case, including the medical examiner's report.
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The shooting remains under investigation; the State Attorney's Office has yet to decide whether to charge the officer involved.
But Prosper's attorneys also complain that police are using the open investigation as an excuse to withhold evidence in the case.
"We need answers," Edeline Prosper said. "We're just crying out for answers."