MIAMI (CBSMIAMI) – An attorney representing a 15-year-old that was shot and injured by a Miami-Dade police sergeant said the shooting was unjustified.
CBS4 does not normally name minors. However, his attorney, Jarlens Princilis, is publicly identifying him as Vito Corleone-Venisse.
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"When you have a teenager whose back is facing the police officer, who is running away from the police officer," said Princilis, "We ask how could this teenager have possibly posed a threat to this officer to the extent that he has to use deadly force in making this arrest?"
The arrest report said around 12:45 a.m. January 16th, officers were patrolling in northwest Miami-Dade, when they saw a Dodge Challenger following another car reported as stolen. Officers tried to pull them both over, but the Challenger drove off and crashed into a tree. Venisse, who police say was the driver, ran off, according to the report.
The report states:
"Officers observed the defendant retrieve a black firearm from within the front pocket of his hoodie and continue running in a northwest direction toward an apartment complex."
The officer fired a single shot.
"According to what his memory allows him to remember right now, he was running away from the police officer," said Princilis. "His back was facing the police officer, and he was not carrying a firearm at the time. He was attempting to flee and, all of a sudden was shot in the back of his neck."
Princilis also denied that Venisse was the driver, saying he was in the backseat.
He said his client is alert but at least partially paralyzed with a long road to recovery.
"We do want to ensure that the Miami-Dade Police Department is held accountable for this wrongdoing, and we do want to make sure that this does not happen again to anybody," said Princilis.
Police say they found an assault rifle in the car and recovered two handguns.
Venisse has been charged with possession of a firearm by a minor and resisting an officer without violence. However, those charges will not be officially filed until his condition improves and he has his first appearance, according to Princilis.
Venisse also had two pickup orders in Miami-Dade, which are like warrants in juvenile court, for gun possession and burglary.
Princilis said a change of address issue was why Venisse did not receive the court notices, adding his client has not been convicted of anything
Miami-Dade Police directed any questions about the investigation to the FDLE. They have not identified the officer beyond saying he is a sergeant.
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