It was a wild ride that put South Florida tourists, residents and even police in danger before it came to a crashing end. And of all things police were chasing, it was one of their own units. It was stolen and raced through busy South Beach.
NBC 6 exclusively obtained what this drama looked like through the eyes of one detective who brought it to an end.
This all unfolded on the Memorial Day weekend when South Beach was packed with people everywhere. Police say that Leon Perrymond jumped in the driver’s seat of the police unit that already had its emergency lights running on Washington Avenue. The officer was nearby and was conducting a traffic detail to enforce the one-way loop that is used on the holiday weekend. That’s when policy say Perrymond took the unit as his own and sped off.
The body camera video from the detective picks up as the pursuit is underway. The detective first confronted Perrymond right after he drove off, but Perrymond kept going — almost running him over. The detective catches up when the stolen unit that had police markings on the bumper crashes blocks away, and he’s got his weapon ready. The officers are seen running up to the vehicle as sirens blare in the background.
Tourist and residents didn’t know what to make of it seeing the police chasing the police.
"It had the lights on. All of a sudden, when I was waiting at the light another car just rammed straight into the back of it and the police car just took off," Joanne Burgess told NBC 6 at the time.
"The actions of this individual were bold. He put himself, and our officers, and the community in danger," Miami Beach Police Detective Shantell Mitchell said. "He got into a vehicle with lights and took off with our vehicle.”
The video shows the destruction the driver left in his wake — multiple vehicles damaged and the entire neighborhood awake — car alarms were triggered too.
Several officers are seen righting the vehicle and getting Perrymond out of the unit. Despite the damage, the emergency lights were still running.
Detective Mitchell says the officer making the pursuit performed well as indicated by no one being killed or seriously injured. And they caught their man. Ironically, Miami Beach Police were the victims.
“He put himself and a lot of people in danger that day,” Mitchell said.
Police say that Perrymond also had those walking on Washington running for their lives when he raced off.
Perrymond faces a list of charges. He’s entered a not guilty plea and is scheduled to be back in court in December.