Samuel Scott Jr. is suing the city of Miami along with five officers for a 2018 incident during which the man says he was wrongfully accosted after reporting his car stolen instead of being helped.
Scott’s attorney, Faudlin Pierre is seeking $500,000 in damages after he claims officers Jonathan Guzman, Michael Bloom, Brandon Williams, Miguel Hernandez, and Randy Carriel unlawfully searched, falsely imprisoned, and unwarranted prosecution.
According to the suit, which was filed in federal court on Nov. 13, the incident unfolded when Scott was leaving his aunt’s home near 568 NW 48 street and he noticed his 2006 black Jeep Compass that had been parked directly in front of the home was gone.
The neighborhood is said to be safe and not considered a high crime area. Scott called authorities about the stolen vehicle at about 5:40 p.m., the Miami New Times reports.
Officer Guzman, two miles away from Scott’s location, saw the car driving 20 miles over the speed limit and began following it. Not long after, the jeep “collided with another car and the driver exited the vehicle and fled the crash scene.” The documents revealed that “Guzman did not see the driver’s face but saw a 6’2 heavy set black male wearing a white tank top fleeing the scene.”
Officer Bloom soon met Scott, where he explained to the officer that his car was stolen and not “repossessed” like Bloom suggested when he initially started questioning Scott. Still, when Bloom asked the man to complete and execute a stolen vehicle affidavit detailing the situation, “Scott did so without hesitation.”
Guzman, Williams, Carriel, and Hernandez then arrived on the scene where the vehicle was stolen, at which point Guzman asked Bloom if the affidavit was completed, to which he said “Yes.” Soon afterward the police surrounded Scott and began interrogating him as if he had stolen the car.
Guzman claimed when he arrived on the scene that the 5-foot-10 Scott — four inches shorter than the officer’s description of the suspect — was the man he saw running from the crashed Jeep, saying that Scott was now wearing a shirt over a tank top. Scott’s actual undershirt he was wearing at the scene was a T-shirt, not a tank top.
“I’m telling you, you guys have the wrong guy,” Scott said as he was being searched, according to the report. “The description of the guy that took off in your car is just like yours,” Guzman said to Scott, explaining why he was being arrested. “But that’s half of Miami, bald with a beard,” the Black man replied. Adding, “This is real messed up.”
According to the arrest report, officers found four plastic baggies in Scott’s car that had “green spots with suspected marijuana.” Pierre said his client had a concealed-weapon permit and carried a gun in his vehicle at the time of the incident but couldn’t explain the marijuana charge.
The 44-year-old was subsequently “charged with leaving the scene of an accident, false reporting of a crime, failure to carry a concealed-weapon license, and possession of marijuana,” but all of those charges eventually were dropped by prosecutors.
Meanwhile, Guzman, whose body camera clearly shows him in possession of Scott’s wallet and cellphone, never turned in those items after the arrest.
As of February 2020, Attorney Bradley Pepper, who represented Scott in the criminal case was still trying track down Scott’s personal belongings.
“I filed a motion to return property, which still hasn’t yielded any results because there’s really no record of those items, as far as what the police did with them or what happened to them,” Pepper said at the time.
For unexplained reasons, Guzman also turned off his body camera several times during the arrest, and by February 2020 Miami’s Civilian Investigative Panel had found he showed negligence of duty in his actions as the arresting officer.
Pepper added, “It all seemed very suspicious. To this date, we don’t really know what the answer is or why the officer even turned it (his body camera) off in the first place.”
The officers have also remained on duty since the incident. According to Scott’s lawyer, no one has ever been arrested for stealing the car — except Scott.
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