Officers won't face charges in the fatal shooting of a man during the 2011 Urban Beach Weekend in Miami Beach, the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office said Tuesday.
The State Attorney's Office found officers were justified in the shooting of 22-year-old Raymond Herisse, who was killed after officers opened fire on his car on May 30, 2011.
"In each of the different shooting incidents, the evidence points to the conclusion that the officers did not commit a criminal act and were justified in the use of the deadly force they reasonably believed to be necessary to defend themselves from bodily harm or using while attempting to arrest Mr. Herisse, who was a fleeing from the commission of multiple felonies," a statement from the State Attorney's Office read.
Miami Beach Police Chief Daniel Oates said his internal affairs unit will still fully investigate the shooting.
"We will conduct a thorough examination of what occurred. It will include determining whether our officers acted within policy, as well as whether our tactics, training or policies need to be changed," Oates' statement said. "It will be an exhaustive review, and our results will be made public. We already made one very significant change in our use-of-force policy in October when we prohibited officers from shooting at moving vehicles. We will do our best to learn everything we can from this incident."
The decision not to file charges didn't surprise attorney Marwan Porter, who represents the Herisse family.
"It would be a tough burden to prove the officers who shot didn't fear for their safety," Porter said.
An 86-page report detailing the investigation into the shooting and why charges won't be filed was released by the State Attorney's Office Tuesday.
According to the report, a Hialeah Police officer had stopped Herisse in the 1600 block of Collins Avenue when Herisse fled the scene, hitting the officer.
Herisse fled at a high rate of speed and officers in the 1500 block of Collins Avenue opened fire on the car to stop it. Herisse crashed into several vehicles and drove on crowded sidewalks and tried to run over officers on bicycles who jumped over barricades to avoid being hit, the report said.
Officers fired at Herisse's car in the 1400 block of Collins Avenue, and three bystanders were hit by gunshots.
His car finally came to a stop at the intersection of 13th Street and Collins Avenue. Herisse didn't turn off his engine and his brake lights were flashing on and off, the report said.
Officers surrounded his Hyundai Sonata and ordered Herisse to get out of the car, but he didn't comply. When Herisse kept moving in his car, officers opened fire.
"Herisse did not comply with these commands and continued moving inside the vehicle, including a downward motion in what the officers would have reasonably perceived to be a threat," the report said. "Upon seeing these movements by Herisse inside the vehicle, several police officers discharged their weapons numerous times at the Herisse fatally wounding him."
Another civilian was injured in this shooting, the report said.
A firearm that was reported stolen in West Palm Beach was found wrapped in a T-shirt on the rear passenger floorboard of Herisse's car, the report said. Herisse was found to have a blood alcohol content of .14, and he was also found to have a suspended driver's license.
The Herisse family has filed a lawsuit against the officers and the cities of Miami Beach and Hialeah, whose officers were involved in the shooting, as well as elected officials that were in power when the shooting occurred.
Porter said the lawsuit can now proceed.
"It had been stayed for years based on the criminal investigation still being open but now the civil aspect will proceed," Porter said.