Take down of alleged car thief questioned
NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. (WSVN) -- Some are questioning whether police officers used excessive force in the arrest of a man who led authorities on a chase through a South Florida neighborhood.
The chase came to a crashing conclusion, tearing down the fence of a house, late Friday morning. Though police caught their man, now the question is whether 7News cameras over the scene caught police using excessive force. "Our primary concern is our safety," said Miami-Dade Police Detective Javier Baez, "and the apprehension of this individual, which clearly had a complete disregard for the safety of our community."
According to police, 33-year-old Joshua Dumas was the driver behind the wheel, and it turns out he happens to have an extensive criminal record.
Police said Dumas was running away from a police officer, who had been questioning him, before he jumped into a car with the keys in the ignition at a gas station. "That officer observed him acting suspicious," said Baez. "He essentially just encountered him to see what he was up to."
Surveillance video at the gas station showed Dumas running and then escaping in a silver car. The owner of the car, Monique McKeller, said she was about to pay for gas when Dumas took off in her car. "When I was pulling in the station, I saw him running. Not knowing, I left my uncle outside standing at the car, so I figured, OK, he's not going to bother with my car," McKeller said, "and standing in line, I saw the car take off."
Dumas drove over sidewalks and struck cars during the chase as police were in pursuit. "He begins to ram a civilian vehicle multiple times, I think, attempting to flee from this officer."
Police bumped the car several times in an attempt to stop it. The chase came to an end in the front yard of a home located at Northwest 87th Terrace and 34th Avenue, shortly after 11 a.m. Friday. The subject bailed out of the stolen car, but he then quickly surrendered to police.
Santiago Rebollo witnessed the take down. "As soon as he jumped out of the vehicle he had both his hands up," he said, "and he looked back at the officers, and then, when he realized they weren't that close, he jumped on the hood of the Explorer over there, and after he jumped on the hood, he again noticed that they weren't that close, so he jumped the fence, but, by the time he jumped the fence, it was too late. They were already on him."
Dumas, already on the ground appeared to be punched in the back by the arresting officer. He then appears to struggle, as police put him in the cruiser. But once inside, an officer opens the door and repeatedly punches the cuffed suspect.
The chase lasted about five minutes and luckily, no one was injured. Baez said, "Clearly he had complete disregard for the safety of our community, fleeing from us, crashing into other vehicles, stealing a vehicle, and now we learned his history."
That history includes aggravated battery and drug possession, and now he faces a slew of other charges.
Miami-Dade Police said it was too early for them to comment on the arrest. They did say the investigation remains open. As far as charges against the suspect, they include car theft, resisting arrest and aggravated battery with a motor vehicle.
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