Family blames police for loved one's death
MIAMI (WSVN) -- A South Florida family believes police are to blame for the death of one of their loved ones after a raid on their Brownsville home.
Family members of 50-year-old Otho Russell said members of the multi-agency gang task force targeted the wrong home and literally scared him to death. "As he was down, some of the officers already doing their search anyway," Charles Russell, Otho's brother said.
Russell collapsed and died of a heart attack on the doorstep of his home at 19th Avenue and Northwest 47th Street when police jumped in. Russell's family said police did not have a consent or a warrant to enter the home during the raid, which took place on July 25.
Police said a warrant was issued, though the family argues the warrant was acquired after the raid. Charles Russell believes the police are to blame for his brother's death. "They scared him to death," Russell said. "They made him have a heart attack. That's what I think. If they would have never came, he would still be here today."
Russell, along with his brothers and neighbors were sitting under a tree at their house when police rushed in. "When they first came, they were talking about hand grenades," Charles Russell said, "so who the hell has hand grenades? We ain't got no military hookup or nobody mess with explosions."
The officers asked to search the home, but according to Charles Russell, his brother denied police permission. "They asked him can they have consent to come in, and he said 'No,'" Russell said, "so that should've stopped them right there."
According to Kathryn Jones, the Russells' neighbor, police poked through a screen door and claimed to see marijuana, then went inside. "He peeked in there and said, 'I see a joint, a marijuana. Does that give me probable cause?'" Jones said, "and the black man told him, 'Yes.' I said, 'Bull!' like that."
Charles was arrested, along with his brother David, on weapons charges when police allegedly found a stolen gun during the raid. The charges have been dismissed for Charles.
John Rivera, President of the Police Benevolent Association, believes the police acted within the law. "The officers were there for a lawful purpose, and they were making an arrest, and this gentleman just died from natural causes," Rivera said. "It was one of those real freaky things that happen in life."
The family believes if the police would have never shown up, their loved one would still be alive. "If they would have never came, it would have never happened," Russell said. "For what reason did they come here? We wasn't doing [anything] wrong."
Opa-Locka Police made the arrests, but due to the incident taking place in Miami, Miami Police are currently looking into the death.
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