On June 1, 2018, Samuel Scott Jr, 44, was arrested after police thought he falsely reported his missing 2006 black Jeep Compass from outside his aunt’s house in Buena Vista
A black man in Florida is suing the city of Miami and five of its police officers for $500,000 after they arrested him when he reported his car stolen, accusing him of being the actual thief.
On June 1, 2018, Samuel Scott Jr, 44, called Miami Police Department to report that his 2006 black Jeep was stolen from outside his aunt’s house in Buena Vista.
However, half an hour after calling 911 about the incident, Scott found himself handcuffed by five Miami PD officers instead of getting help.
Officers said they believed Scott was the perpetrator of the crime, not the victim, because he resembled the person they were looking for: ‘black male, bald, about 6’2′ and heavy set, with a white tank top’.
‘I’m telling you, you guys have the wrong guy,’ Scott, who is black and was wearing a dark-colored shirt over a white undershirt at the time, told an officer in body camera footage obtained by the Dailymail.com.
‘The description of the guy who took off in your car is just like yours,’ the officer replied.
‘But that’s half of Miami,’ Scott said.
Later in the video, Scott is taped laughing by himself, saying: ‘I mean, why would I call the police?’
Following his arrest, Scott was charged with leaving the scene of an accident, false reporting of a crime, failure to carry a concealed-weapon license, and possession of marijuana.
Those charges were ultimately dropped, according to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.
Three years later, Scott is suing the city of Miami and the five officers — Jonathan Guzman, Michael Bloom, Brandon Williams, Miguel Hernandez, and Randy Carriel — involved in his arrest, claiming they searched him unlawfully, wrongly imprisoned him, and racially profiled him on that day in June 2018.
Scott’s attorney, Faudlin Pierre, said his client is seeking $500,000 in damages.
‘He reported it to the cops because he believed that the cops were actually going to assist him,’ Pierre told Miami New Times. ‘And then it turns out that they racially profiled him.’
On the day of the incident, when Scott was leaving his aunt’s house around 5.40pm after visiting her, and noticed that his Jeep Compass had disappeared.
According to the arrest report, around the same time, MPD officer Jonathan Guzman noticed a Jeep Compass on an unspecified road a few miles away, being driven at 20 miles per hour over the speed limit.
Guzman tried to stop the vehicle then saw it collide with another vehicle.
The driver got out and fled the scene on foot. Guzman described the man behind the wheel as a ‘Black male, bald, about 6’2′ and heavy set, with a white tank top.’
When officers finally arrived at Scott’s aunt’s house, two miles away from the wreck, they began asking him questions ‘as if he had stolen his own vehicle,’ according to the lawsuit. As Scott filled an affidavit for his stolen car, an officer informed him that he would be arrested if he turned in a false report.
Samuel Scott Jr was arrested by Miami PD officers after calling them to report that his car was stolen on June 1, 2018. Pictured: Screenshots of the incident via MPD body-worn camera footage
The complaint also indicates that one officer pulled out his Taser while talking to Scott.
Scott was wearing a black shirt over a white undershirt — not a white tank top — and he is four inches shorter than the suspect’s described.
But the arrest report describes ‘the person reporting the stolen vehicle matched the description of the offender that fled the scene of the hit and run. Upon arrival the complainant was wearing the same clothing description.’
‘Yeah, that’s him,’ an officer says in the body cam footage. ‘He’s sweating, he has a black shirt on top of the tank top shirt.’
Scott was arrested at 6.05p.m. and taken into custody to Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.
The wrongly accused man attempted to tell officers it was a mistake and that he’d never gotten in trouble with the law to the point of being jailed. However, the lawsuit said they ‘did not believe Scott, a black man, was never arrested.’
The arrest report also states that the officers found four small zip bags in Scott’s car that had ‘green spots with suspected marijuana.’
Pierre also said that his client does have a concealed-weapon permit and confirmed that he carried a gun in his car at the time of the incident. However, he can’t understand the marijuana-related charges.
‘That was just adding to the fantasy we call this arrest,’ Pierre said, emphasizing that a racially bias factor played a significant role in his client’s arrest.
Scott’s lawsuit, filed to the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida on November 13, is six years after the ruling of another local and high profile case in the area.
In October 2015, motorist Corey Jones, a Black musician, was fatally shot by a Palm Beach Gardens police officer, named Nouman Raja, while he was waiting for a tow truck after his SUV broke down on the I-95 exit ramp at PGA Boulevard.
Raja was sentenced to 25 years in April 2019 for manslaughter and attempted murder. He is the first Florida police officer in nearly 30 years to be jailed for an on-duty killing.
Just last week, Florida’s Supreme Court rejected his appeal.
Pierre said no one has been arrested for the theft of Scott’s car. Dailymail.com has asked the city of Miami for comment on the investigation and the lawsuit filed by Pierre and Scott.
After the incident, Scott accused one of the five officers, Jonathan Guzman, in a complaint of confiscating his cellphone, military ID, and wallet.
Miami’s Civilian Investigative Panel (CIP) backed Scott’s allegation, saying Guzman applied ‘negligence of duty’ and was in charge of overseeing Scott’s possessions as the primary arresting officer.
Guzman, who was one of three officers wearing cameras at the time of Scott’s arrest, is still on the local police force, along with the four officers, according to an MPD roster obtained by Miami New Times.
And while Pierre said his client would appreciate an apology from the officers, he knows that it’s most likely wishful thinking.
‘Yes, we want justice, but in the form of him being compensated,’ Pierre said. ‘That’s the only way our legal system actually provides any remedies.’