Miami Beach

Man Tased multiple times by Miami Beach police during traffic stop

A man was Tased by police in Miami Beach Friday night after an officer attempted to stop him for not wearing a seat belt, according to a police report.

Pierre Phelan Williams, 38, of Miami Gardens, was driving on Ocean Drive near Ninth Street around 11:25 p.m. when a police officer at a traffic stop shone his flashlight into the car to see if Williams was wearing his seat belt. According to the report, Williams kept driving north for several feet when the officer asked him to stop his green Toyota Solara. When the car eventually stopped, an officer reached in and put the car in park while another reached for the ignition.

The police report said Williams resisted exiting the car and reached for an unknown item between the front passenger seat and the center console. Three officers attempted to drag him out of the vehicle’s open side door. As they did so, Williams hit an officer in the chest and on his chin with his right hand and the officer hit back at Williams’ face with his elbow, the report said.

After removing Williams from the car, officers pushed him to the ground and attempted to handcuff him but failed for several minutes, according to the report. Officers then Tased Williams multiple times in the lower back and torso “to try to gain compliance.” During the struggle, one officer saw Williams reaching for his waistband “as if he was reaching for a weapon,” according to the report. Williams was arrested and charged with battery on a police officer, failure to obey, resisting an officer with violence and resisting an officer without violence.

Paramedics then took Williams to Mount Sinai Medical Center for medical treatment. It was unclear how many times Williams was stunned before he was taken to the hospital.

Several hours later, in a separate incident in the area of Ocean Drive and Ninth Street, two men interfered with a traffic stop and injured two officers. One officer fractured his pinkie finger and the other hurt his shoulder, according to a police report. Police arrested one of the men, identified as Stephen Walker, and Tased the other one, identified as Kent Desmond James Jr., when he continued to attack the officers and resist arrest, according to the report. James was arrested after being Tased.

Miami Beach police issued policy changes to their use of Tasers in late 2015, after the August 2013 Taser death of a teenage graffiti artist who subsequently died of heart failure. The new guidelines prohibited the stun guns from being aimed at a suspect’s chest or being used on any suspect already restrained by handcuffs, as well as limiting the number of times the gun could be used.