After police chase in Miami Beach, officers pluck hiding suspect from Biscayne Bay

Giovanno Raffo, 26, who was arrested after allegedly fleeing Miami Beach police and jumping into Biscayne Bay.
Giovanno Raffo, 26, who was arrested after allegedly fleeing Miami Beach police and jumping into Biscayne Bay.
Miami Beach Police Department

Miami Herald Staff Report

Authorities fished a suspect from Biscayne Bay after he jumped from his crashed car on the Venetian Causeway, Miami Beach police said Tuesday.

Officers scoured the bay, seawalls and causeway section near The Miami Herald building looking for the occupants of a car that menaced police officers as they tried to stop the driver on Ocean Drive.

The late-night drama began on Monday as a traffic stop. An officer noticed that the 2005 Mercedes-Benz was obstructing traffic and the driver was not wearing his seatbelt.

The driver, identified as 26-year-old Giovanno Raffo, didn’t cooperate and appeared to be reaching for a weapon under the seat, according to a police report. The car then took off north from the 1400 block of Ocean Drive, sending the officer rushing out of the way.

Other officers joined the pursuit and attempted to stop the driver and passenger at gunpoint. The driver then put the car in reverse, striking an officer elbow with the passenger side of the car, according to the report.

The car then headed north on Collins Avenue and sped onto the Venetian Causeway. As the drawbridge rose for boat traffic, the car struck the warning gates and came to rest on a side street curb.

The driver was seen jumping into the bay. Police called in Miami and Miami-Dade K-9 units and marine patrol officers from Bal Harbour and Indian Creek.

Raffo was found hiding under a dock at the Sea Isle Marina. He was taken into custody by a U.S. Coast Guard boat.

“I was trying to get away because I didn’t want to go to jail because I have a bad license and it was my dad’s car,” he told a police detective, according to the report.

Raffo was charged with fleeing, aggravated assault on a police officer and resisting without violence. Police said they found Xanax and marijuana in the car. The passenger got away.

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