Family Of 2011 Memorial Day Shooting Victim Files Public Records Lawsuit

Raymond Herisse, 22, was fatally shot by officers during Memorial Day weekend last year

By Willard Shepard
|  Thursday, May 24, 2012  |  Updated 9:52 PM EDT
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The family of a man killed by police officers in South Beach one year ago during Urban Beach weekend announced Thursday they filed a lawsuit against the cities of Miami Beach and Hialeah to gain access to public records of the incident. Herisse s mother, Marcelline Azor, and family attorney Marwan Porter spoke at a press conference.

The family of a man killed by police officers in South Beach one year ago during Urban Beach weekend announced Thursday they filed a lawsuit against the cities of Miami Beach and Hialeah to gain access to public records of the incident. Herisse s mother, Marcelline Azor, and family attorney Marwan Porter spoke at a press conference.

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The family of a man killed by police officers in South Beach one year ago during Urban Beach weekend announced Thursday they filed a lawsuit against the cities of Miami Beach and Hialeah to gain access to public records of the incident.

The family of Raymond Herisse, the 22-year-old fatally shot by officers during Memorial Day weekend last year, held a press conference along with another man injured during the event.

Herisse’s mother, Marcelline Azor, couldn't control her emotions.

"Please, please give me my justice,” she said.

Herisse’s mother said her son was shot more than 100 times by officers. A video of the shooting is available on YouTube.

“It’s all over the internet,” said family attorney Marwan Porter. “Everyone has seen what happened. What in the world is taking so long for you to give the results of you investigation?”

Florida's Sunshine Law allows records to remain from public view until the investigation is closed, but Herisse’s family and attorney say more than enough time has elapsed for some material to be released to them.

In a statement released by the City of Miami Beach, Jose Smith said they cannot comment on the lawsuit.

“The city will not comment on these lawsuits until all law enforcement agencies complete their investigation. It is inappropriate to file lawsuits or respond to them before knowing all the facts.”

Miami Beach police spokesman Robert Hernandez said he “can’t comment.”

Hialeah did not return calls from NBC 6.

Herisse’s family, accompanied by Cedrick Perkins who was also injured during the shooting, said they had exhausted all their efforts to get the official police records to see what happened.

Perkins said he still has a bullet lodged near his heart.

“It has been very difficult for me to provide for my family, and do other things, and attend events with my children, and it’s just, you know, we are here to try and get some answers,” he said.

Perkins and the family believe the information is being withheld on purpose.

“[They have] grave concerns that the police departments’ failure to release the public records is an attempt to facilitate the concealment of police misconduct, after learning that officers attempted to destroy cellular phone video evidence of the shooting, and in light of the recent City of Miami Beach public corruption scandal involving several city officials, including the pending resignation of City Manger Jorge Gonzalez,” a press release from the law firm said.

Benjamin Crump, who also represents Trayvon Martin’s family, is Perkin’s attorney.

“We haven't gotten any information,” he said. “Not one response at all from the police. We've sent several requests.”

Porter, who is asking for an accelerated hearing and an injunction by the court, said that without information, Herisse’s mother only has the video.

“It has been one year,” said Porter. “The only thing [Azor] knows is what all of us have seen on that video. Imagine if that was your child or your loved one.”

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