Miami-Dade Police are in the spotlight yet again. This time, for arresting a blind man, and abandoning him off in the middle of nowhere—leaving him to find his own way home.
The incident occurred on the night of August 27th, though the details are just being released to the public.
According to police records, four plain-clothes Miami-Dade police officers approached three young, black men on a dead end street in South Dade. When the came up to the men, the police spotted a discarded marijuana cigarette on the ground near where the three men were standing.
Two of the men were issued a ticket, and ordered to appear in court.
The third man, 21-year-old Tannie Burke, was not so lucky.
According to CBS-4 Miami,
Instead, police officers handcuffed him and led him to the back of an unmarked car where he appeared to have trouble finding the door.
Burke’s step-father, Marvin Armstrong, captured the arrest on camera. Burke believes he was arrested because Armstrong was recorded the entire incident.
“They said, `Your stepfather got a lot of mouth. You know we don’t like that.’”
As the police arrested Burke, they gave him no direction to the car.
Armstrong can be heard in the video taunting the police.
“He’s blind dumb***,” the man videotaping the incident is heard saying. “If you don’t tell him he’s walking to the car how the (expletive) is he going to know?”
For 20 minutes, police drove Burke around before eventually pulling over by vacant farm land—nearly a mile from his home.
“They put me off somewhere in Goulds. There were no street lights and no houses,” he said. “It was just dark.”
CBS4′s Jim DeFede asked, “Did you tell the officers you were blind?”
“Yes I told them in the car I was blind and I couldn’t see,” Burke said.
DeFede then asked, “Did they seem to care?”
“Not that I know of,” he answered. “They put me out somewhere where they aren’t no street lights and no houses.”
Police then made Burke sign the same ticket the two other men received, which he could not read, and kicked him out of the car.
Burke had no cell phone, as the police took it. He had no way to identify where he was.
Unsure of where to go, Burke started walking. He kept his right foot on the road and his left foot in the weeds to prevent him from wandering into the middle of the street where he might get hit by a car.
Nearly an hour later, a stranger passing-by stopped and took him home.
Burke, who has never been convicted of a crime, has been targeted by police in the past. He has been arrested twice, and stopped more than a dozen other times.
Burke believes it is because he is a black man.
“I feel they stop me because they see a black man walking down the street,” he said. “I don’t know what to say about it. I just feel bad about it. That’s it.”
Last month, the misdemeanor marijuana charges were dropped by the prosecutor.
Burke’s family filed a complaint against the Miami-Dade police. A spokesperson for the department refused to comment, though said the case is currently being investigated by the department’s Internal Affairs unit.