The family of a 34-year-old man who died after being shot in the head by a city of Miami police sergeant during a traffic stop last year has filed a federal lawsuit against the city and Sgt. Constant Rosemond.
Miami police have maintained that a struggle ensued during the March 8, 2022, traffic stop just outside Miami Northwest Senior High School and that the sergeant was forced to fire his gun.
Body cam footage released last year shows a struggle during the traffic stop that occurred on the corner of Northwest 10th Avenue and 71st Street, but it doesn’t show the driver, Antwon Cooper, wielding a gun or reaching for a gun, as police had initially implied.
“Officers became aware that one of the individuals was armed. A struggle ensued and one of the officers discharged his firearm,” Police Chief Manny Morales said during a news conference after the shooting.
Attorney Rawsi Williams, who is representing the family, told Local 10 last year that the police department hasn’t released the full story.
“He (was) shot in the head with another officer right there and Mr. Cooper was not brandishing a weapon,” Williams said. “Mr. Cooper was not holding a weapon. Mr. Cooper was not attacking an officer and that sergeant used lethal force.”
According to the lawsuit, which was filed Monday, two people witnessed the shooting – Officer Olivier Gonzalez, who initiated the traffic stop and Cooper’s front-seat passenger, Rodney Bullard.
“There is no way that all of these killings are justified,” Williams said Monday.
The lawsuit states that Gonzalez pulled over Cooper for speeding and dark tints, but “no measurement/clocking of speed or tint was recovered in the investigation file.”
The complaint further alleges that Gonzalez asked Cooper if he had a weapon, and Cooper told him “no” and even opened his book bag to show him.
The lawsuit acknowledges that Cooper, who was heading home from working at an ice cream factory, did not have a valid driver’s license and was asked to step out of his car.
Gonzalez then patted Cooper down, at which time he attempted to flee, the lawsuit states.
According to the lawsuit, Gonzalez grabbed Cooper’s shirt to prevent him from running away and the two got into “an upright/standing shirt-tussle as a result of Gonzalez holding on to Antwon’s shirt and Antwon trying to loosen the shirt from Gonzalez’s grasp.”
The lawsuit alleges that Gonzalez did not threaten to or pull out any weapon, and did not call for emergency back-up.
“Contrary to the statement released to the public by the MDSAO (Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office), Sgt. Rosemond did not ‘arrive on the scene to find Cooper on top of Officer Gonzalez, with Gonzalez doing all he could do to control Cooper’s hands … shouted several commands to Cooper which went unheeded, leading Rosemond to fire one round from his service weapon,’” the lawsuit states.
According to the complaint, Gonzalez had his body-camera on, but Rosemond did not.
The officer involved in the scuffle said he didn’t see a gun on the roadway until after the …read more
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