by Jean-Guy Allard
In Miami itself, the local press – characterized by its blind cooperation with calls from law enforcement – has diverted public attention with a controversy over a cellphone, whose owner, Narces Benoit, was filming the savage police intervention that ended with the death of young Raymond Hérissé.
Apparently the murder of this son of a humble Haitian immigrant doesn’t interest anyone, including those holders of power in this city with their persistent traits of racial hate and segregation. According to YouTube, however, Narces Benoit’s video has been viewed 764,125 times.
Criticized for confiscating and destroying cameras and mobile phones after killing Hérissé during the hip-hop festival, Urban Beach Week, the municipal authorities of Miami Beach questioned Benoit’s testimony that said a police officer had aimed a gun at his head, handcuffed him and destroyed his mobile phone by kicking it.
The police detained the witness, an African American, not because he was filming, they said, but because he was “very similar” to the description of the suspect that was supposedly seen fleeing. This is a version of the story whose racist tones don’t escape anyone.
No report of the events in the local press mentions Hérissé’s death nearly as much as they have, with the help of the police, been encouraged to describe a criminal, with an emphasis that is more than suspicious. The court file resembles those of thousands of young African Americans in this city whose segregated neighborhoods are patrolled daily by SWAT teams with horrible reputations.
A few days after Hérissé’s death, the police announced that they “found” a gun “hidden” in his car, something very suspicious in a city where cases of “planted guns” have been cause for scandals in the past.
Hérissé was shot after crashing his Hyundai into a police barricade during the popular event that attracts thousands of hip-hop fans annually, most of whom are African American. According to the Westside Gazette, a Black newspaper, “Eight Miami Beach and four Hialeah policemen sprinted to the car, then they planted their feet firmly on the ground, bent their knees as if at a firing range and shot over 100 bullets into Hérissé, execution style; four bystanders were also shot.”
Six youths from segregated neighborhoods in Miami have become victims of fatal police shootings within the last 10 months, without even one investigation report having been filed or one police officer accused even of criminal negligence.
In the meantime, the “big” press agencies maintain an alarming silence around this scandalous event, demonstrating that, in the country that continuously accuses the nations it attacks of violating human rights, skin color alone justifies a death sentence.
This story first appeared in English in Watching America, which translates foreign news stories. It was translated by Natasha Mann and edited by Andrew Schmidt. The original story, in Spanish, was published in ArgenPress, Argentina. Bay View staff contributed to the story.
According to CNN, Narces Benoit filmed the officers shooting at Raymond Hérissé, 22, more than 100 times, for driving recklessly. After the shooting an officer saw Benoit recording the incident, chased him down, handcuffed him, piled him and his girlfriend, Ericka Davis, into the back of a police car, smashed the phone and tossed it back to him. Benoit then slipped the memory card out of the phone and into his mouth.