Video shows another controversial arrest of New York tourist recording Miami Beach officers during Rolling Loud weekend

Another tourist from New York is contesting an arrest in Miami Beach during the Rolling Loud music festival weekend. A Miami Beach police officer is under scrutiny over his use of force while enforcing a new city law. It prohibits any person with the intent to interfere with an officer performing a legal duty from being within 20 feet of the officer — after a warning.

July 25th was a nightmare for Mariyah Maple. She stumbled upon a traffic stop at Sixth Street and Collins Avenue and decided to use her phone to record it from the sidewalk. An officer shouted at her, quickly hit her with his bicycle, and pepper-sprayed her, video shows. Records show she was arrested at 3:20 a.m., booked at 8:28 a.m., and released at 9:10 p.m.

According to the arrest affidavit, Sgt. Vincent Stella used his bicycle as “a physical barrier” and used pepper spray when Maple, 27, and others “stood their ground and refused to move.” Chad Piotrowski, the Miami attorney representing Maple, released a video saying it “completely” contradicts what the officers alleged Maple did in the arrest affidavit.

“The officer walked up and attacked Ms. Maple,” Piotrowski said in a statement about the witnesses’ video. “The officer struck her with his bicycle and pepper-sprayed her for no reason and then fabricated the arrest report.”

According to Officer Ernesto Rodriguez, a spokesman for MBPD, the internal affairs unit was investigating Maple’s arrest and Stella was placed on administrative duty. Chief Richard M. Clements temporarily suspended the enforcement of the city law after another set of controversial arrests on July 26.

“No bodycam footage is available while the investigation is underway,” Rodriguez said about Maple’s arrest.

Other MBPD officers also used the new city law to justify the arrest of two other tourists from New York, Khalid Vaughn, 28, and Sharif Cobb, 27, who decided to pull out their phones to record officers shortly before 2 a.m., on July 26. Vaughn’s arrest was part of the latest case of alleged excessive and unwarranted use of force by police in Miami-Dade.

Miami-Dade prosecutors used body cam video and surveillance video to file misdemeanor battery charges against three MBPD officers, Robert Sabater, David Rivas, and Steven Serrano, accusing them of punching and striking Vaughn at the Royal Palm Hotel and two other officers in a violent arrest Vaughn and Cobb witnessed.

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said that if the new city law is keeping people from “videotaping, obviously something is wrong.”

During the late June meeting when Miami Beach commissioners passed the city law, Commissioner Steven Meiner, the sponsor of the law, said it was born out of efforts in Tallahassee to pass similar legislation, which he described as “a good idea.”

Florida Rep. Alex Rizo proposed House Bill 11, which mirrors the law, but instead of 20 feet requires 30 feet and punishes an accused violator more severely with a second-degree misdemeanor. Rizo filed it on July 19 as the first bill for the 2022 legislative session.

“Officers get surrounded and right now they have limited options on how to break that up,” Meiner said.

Rodriguez also said Clements wants to make sure all of the department’s officers receive additional, in-person training “on the nuances” of the new city law before officers are allowed to use it again.

Miami-Dade County prosecutors dropped the cases against Vaughn and Cobb. Stella didn’t arrest Maple. Another officer who saw her complaining about her eyes burning from the pepper spray did. Records show Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Stephanie Silver has Maple’s case and there is an arraignment hearing scheduled for Sept. 2.

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Read the arrest report

Mariyah Maple arrest on July 25, 2021 in Miami Beach.Read More


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