Crime

He was rescued. Then he grabbed a cop’s Taser and was shot, video shows.

Police body-cam captures cops shooting man in south Miami-Dade county

A body-cam on a Miami-Dade police officer captured the moment when a man was shoot by cops after taking a taser.
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A body-cam on a Miami-Dade police officer captured the moment when a man was shoot by cops after taking a taser.

A Pompano Beach man was shot by police after a bizarre encounter that began when he drove his car through a chain-link fence and into a small lake just north of the Florida Keys and was saved by another driver. After being helped from the submerged vehicle by a motorist who had stopped along the highway, Jahmal Parker became combative with first responders before he was shot, police said.

Now, nearly five months after the incident, video has emerged that not only shows Parker ignoring Miami-Dade police commands, but very clearly captures him grabbing a cop’s Taser and pointing it at one of the two officers there, before both cops unleash a volley of bullets. Parker, 29, was shot in the leg and survived the encounter.

“Sit down,” an officer yells at Parker, whose hands are covered in blood, before he manages to grab the Taser. “You ever been Tased?”

A good portion, just over 14 minutes of the confrontation between the burly 250-pound man and police, was captured by bodycam footage taken from one of the officers. Throughout the encounter, Parker stands stone-faced, seemingly not reacting to what the officers are saying.

It was just before noon on March 29, when Parker and another driver got into a traffic crash near Mile Marker 114 just south of Florida City. Parker’s car somehow catapulted through a fence and into a small lake, the vehicle’s front end completely submerged in the water. A motorist stopped and jumped into the water to help Parker out.

Police say they were called after Parker, wearing a blue and white striped shirt, refused orders from a Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission officer. Once police arrived, he ignored them and refused to sit as he was told. Saying he needed medical attention, the officers barked commands for him to sit but those were ignored.

Then, just past the 6-minute mark of the video, a Miami-Dade officer approached Parker and gently placed his hand on the man’s left shoulder. Then, Parker suddenly grabbed the officer’s Taser stun gun from his belt loop. In rapid succession, Parker backed off along the side of the fire rescue truck near the traffic lane and pointed the Taser at another officer, who appeared to shoot his own stun gun at the suspect.

If Parker was struck, the electric prongs didn’t have much of an effect.

“He’s got a Taser,” an officer yelled. Six police gunshots followed and Parker crumpled to the ground in agony. Miami-Dade paramedics then treated him at the scene.

A police report said both officers fired after “the defendant continued to disregard verbal commands, despite being shot.”

The video was released as part of Parker’s pending criminal case.

The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office is still investigating whether police broke the law in shooting Parker. Charges against the cops, however, are unlikely. Police in Florida are given wide latitude to use deadly force in defending themselves.

The state’s “fleeing felon” law also allows officers to shoot someone suspected of committing a felony even if they are running away. In Parker’s case, he has been charged with multiple felonies, including aggravated assault of a law-enforcement officer and resisting police with violence.

Defense lawyer Brian Tannebaum, who is not involved in the case, said questions about whether the man was a grave threat are fair — but that at the end of the day, he had stolen a police weapon. “Those are the split-second decisions officers have to make,” he said of the police shooting.

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