Three Miami police officers are under investigation after assaulting a man for recording them on his cellphone. Although the officers claimed the man was standing too close to them, the video clearly shows the officers lied in their arrest report.
Shortly after 12:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, Miami-area musician Emanuel David Williams began recording three Miami Police Department officers on his cellphone as they permitted his ex-girlfriend to remove items from his apartment. According to Williams, he started to record the officers when they approached him and refused to answer his questions.
In the first part of the video, Williams uses his phone to zoom in on the nametags of MPD officers Hernandez, Allen, and Gonzalez. As Williams asks the cops why they are in his face, Allen defiantly responds, “Because we can be.”
Despite the fact that Williams is blatantly recording them and remaining still, Gonzalez steps right next to him and commands Williams not to put his phone near the officer’s face. According to the video, Williams does not approach Gonzalez, who steps within inches of the camera in order to justify attacking him later.
Complying with the officers, Williams takes a step back and asks, “What’s the problem?”
The officers refuse to answer his question and instead order him to move to the sidewalk across the street. As Williams once again complies with their orders, the three officers follow closely behind him.
Walking backwards while continuing to record them, Williams notes, “You guys are pressing me out.”
In the second part of the video posted to Instagram, Williams steps onto the sidewalk and records Hernandez and Gonzalez as they purposely step in front of his camera in order to justify an arrest. Williams observes, “You followed me to sidewalk.”
Suddenly, Gonzalez smacks the phone out of Williams’ hand while shouting, “Do not put the phone in my face!”
Although the phone falls to the ground, it continues to record as the cops slam Williams against a fence before throwing him to the ground. While pushed against the fence, Williams yells, “Oh my God!”
After taking Williams to the ground, the officers shout, “Stop resisting!”
Off-camera, Williams repeatedly says, “I’m not resisting!”
As the officers place Williams under arrest for no justifiable reason, Williams states, “I walked over to the lawful order. I did what you told me to do, and I got it on camera!”
In his arrest report, Gonzalez falsely wrote, “The defendant then continued to place his cellphone within very close proximity of my face, once again breaching the distance within my reactionary gap, at which point I advised the defendant that he was under arrest, at which point I grabbed the defendant by the arm and attempted to directed [sic] him to the ground to effect the arrest.”
According to the video, Williams complied with their orders and was only attacked after the officers purposely stood within inches of his camera. Gonzalez also did not advise Williams that he was under arrest before assaulting him.
Williams was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting an officer without violence.
“Last night I was assaulted by 3 #miami police officers in front of my own home,” Williams wrote Sunday on Instagram. “These thugs knocked my phone out of my hand threw me to the ground and punched me repeatedly in the head.”
On Wednesday, MPD Public Information Officer Kenia Fallat issued the following statement: “The City of Miami Police Department is aware of a cellular phone video surfacing on social media showing our uniformed officers involved in an arrest with a suspect who was filming. Our Internal Affairs Section is also aware and investigating the circumstances that led up to the video.”
“They had their way with me,” Williams told the Miami New Times. “There was nothing I could have done. If I had reacted at all or fought back, I could be sitting in a cell or have been shot dead. The only thing I could do to stay alive was let it happen.”
Currently, none of the officers face criminal charges or disciplinary actions.