CITY OF MIAMI BEACH STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO MEDIA INQUIRIES
RE: BENOIT CELL PHONE VIDEO
The Miami Beach Police Department continues to work with the State Attorney's office as we investigate the shooting that occurred this past Memorial Day. In the course of the investigation, we received reports alleging that police officers confiscated a phone from a civilian bystander in the immediate aftermath of the incident. Video shot from that phone has been sold to a news outlet, and the individual that took the video (Narces Benoit) has provided statements to the media that allege that officers damaged his private property.
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. 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.
During the course of the investigation, Mr. Benoit was brought to the station as a witness to the incident. In a recorded statement, the investigating detective informed Mr. Benoit that his cell phone was being seized as investigative evidence and would be returned to him at a later date. Mr. Benoit signed and was provided with a copy of the Miami Beach Property Receipt (copy attached).
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. Several other phones were also secured during the course of the investigation.
Contrary to Mr. Benoit's statements to the media, the cell phone turned over to the Miami Beach Police Department is in working order; the only damage observed to the cell phone is to the lower right portion of the LCD screen and it is unknown when this damage occurred. This damage does not appear consistent with Mr. Benoit's statements to the media that his phone was "smashed."
Please refer to attached photos of the front and rear of the phone. Additionally, investigators were not aware - nor did Mr. Benoit ever indicate - that he had removed the SIM card from his phone prior to surrendering it to investigators. This video was subsequently provided to the department only after a subpoena was obtained and issued.
Needless-to-say, there are heightened tensions following any shooting incident. As is evident in Mr. Benoit's video, in the minutes immediately following the incident police officers can be observed working to secure the scene and identify potential witnesses, and - more importantly - any possible, additional suspects.
Notwithstanding, the City of Miami Beach Police Department takes seriously any allegations of police misconduct and urges anyone to report any concerns to the Department's Internal Affairs Division (305.673.7920).
City of Miami Beach
Office of Communications
Office of the City Manager
1700 Convention Center Drive
Miami Beach FL 33139
The front of the phone...
The back of the phone...
As a refresher, this is what Mr. Benoit told the Miami Herald about the incident...
Benoit said a Miami Beach officer grabbed his cell phone, said “You want to be [expletive] Paparazzi?” and stomped on his phone before placing him in handcuffs and shoving the crunched phone in Benoit’s back pocket.
He insisted his phone was broken.