Miami Beach Police are offering picture proof they didn't destroy a cellphone used to capture images of a recent police-involved shooting.
The department released photos Tuesday night of a phone confiscated after the Memorial Day shooting, after the owner of the phone, Narces Benoit, claimed officers smashed it.
In the photos, the phone appears to have damage to a corner of its screen, but in a statement released Tuesday police said the phone is still working and that it's unknown when that damage occurred.
"This damage does not appear consistent with Mr. Benoit's statements to the media that his phone was 'smashed,'" the statement said.
Benoit said he happened to be in the area of Collins Avenue and 15th Street when officers shot and killed 22-year-old Raymond Herisse. Police say Herisse had tried to hit officers with his car before several officers surrounded it and opened fire.
Police initially said Herisse was unarmed, but later said they found a semi-automatic pistol in his car.
Benoit has claimed he was approached by officers with guns drawn after they saw him recording the shooting. He claims the officers took his phone and smashed it but not before he was able to pull the memory card from the phone and hide it in his mouth.
"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," Tuesday's statement from Police said. "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."
Police said several other phones were confiscated during the investigation of the shooting and that they were unaware that Benoit had removed the memory card.
"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," police said.