Tuesday, February 21, 2012
7 News Investigations: Cop v. Neighbor
Most of us would be delighted to have a police officer living nearby. But one South Florida family says that's not the case in their neighborhood and authorities are investigating. The Nightteam's Carmel Cafiero has the exclusive.
WSVN -- Four-year-old Sebastian Abreu is growing up in a nice Miami-Dade neighborhood.
But police have been called to his home, once with guns drawn. His mom says he is now afraid of them. His parent's are afraid too, but only of one officer. She's the neighbor who lives behind them.
Josue Abreu: "We're finally doing something about it and that's what's good."
Holli is still not sure speaking out will help their situation, but admits she and her husband Josue feel as if they have no choice.
Holli Abreu: "I've never seen her. I don't even know what she looks like."
Miami-Dade Police officers have come to their house at least six times since August after someone complained about noise. The family says they can't even use their backyard after the sun goes down and even have problems if friends gather inside, which they did on Sebastian's birthday.
Holli Abreu: "My son went outside with a piece of cake and he said, 'Oh, the police came to my birthday.' And when he ran outside and the police looked and they see a little boy dressed like a dinosaur and they're like don't worry about it. And they leave."
Police were also called when Josue says he was in his backyard with two other men, praying for a friend with cancer.
Then there was a complaint about a barking dog. They brought the dog in, but two hours later, they say their house was surrounded by police officers with guns drawn.
Holli Abreu: "It was a lot of officers with a lot of guns."
Carmel Cafiero: "As little Sebastian and his older brother and sister watched from the balcony, Josue walked out the front door, hands in the air. 10 police units had responded and they all had guns pointing at him."
According to the police report, Officer Rose Stabio reported Josue had been "screaming profanities from his balcony while possibly holding a firearm."
He says it never happened and he has never owned a gun.
Holli Abreu: "So what if my little boy would have ran out onto that balcony after his father and they see a quick move and they think something's happening? It's dark and they fire and then somebody's hurt."
Miami-Dade PD has an internal affairs investigation of the incident which took place last August.
The department says because of that, it cannot comment and neither can Officer Stabio.
Miami-Dade records show she has earned raises and commendations during her five and a half years with the department. She also has one reprimand for accidently discharging her gun at an off-duty job. No one was injured.
Holli Abreu: "She's calling in as if there's some sort of gang party or something crazy going on here and it's not as you can see. There's nothing going on here. It's just a house with a family trying to live a normal life."
And neighbors say the Abreaus do no cause disturbances.
Amid Cossio, Neighbor: "No, they don't make a lot of noise. They're just a typical South Florida family."
Carmel Cafiero: "The family had hoped the current investigation would calm things down. But they say Super Bowl Sunday, officers showed up here, again. This time the family was in bed asleep when police came knocking. There had been an anonymous complaint of a loud party."