Family says SWAT invasion "unwarranted"

caines | 11/2/2011, 6:45 a.m.

Police justified in destruction of Liberty City home?

Liberty City was the site of a recent early- morning altercation between Miami-Dade Police and a family that resides at the intersection of 63rd Street and NW 19th Avenue. According to a WSVN news report, what transpired on Tuesday, Oct. 25th after the police received calls of shots fired, was a SWAT standoff, eventually resulting in the safe capture of two children and the arrest of 10 adults. But based on remarks from the family and one eyewitness who lives just two doors away, it appears that what really occurred was a result of invalid information and mistaken identification. I was working on my computer and heard a series of gunshots from what sounded like a high-powered assault weapon, said Adaya Baki, 25, one of several brothers who live with their mother, Altine (Kathi Beese, 50) at the home. My brother, Akila [Baki, 30] and I saw a suspicious car with its motor running outside and so we armed ourselves and investigated. But first I called the police and told them that shots had been fired. Baki went on to say that in his conversation with 9-1-1, he told them that he and his brother were armed with registered weapons and needed help. He says he was advised to remain on the property. Things kind of moved quickly after the first police car showed up, he said. Then there were unmarked and marked cars everywhere and we heard one officer say they would shoot if we didnt drop our guns. We took them inside and then I tried to figure out why we were being treated like the criminals. I was afraid for my familys safety and my own and kept trying to emphasize that to the 9-1-1 operator. Children held in police car for eight hours The family reported that the Special Response Team stormed the house with tear gas, smashed through a fence in the rear of the house and eventually came into the home where they searched all of the rooms, leaving the majority of their belongings, including televisions and computers, destroyed. Seven adults were arrested, two children, three-months-old and three-years-old were taken by the officers along with one minor, a 17-year-old brother who was not detained. The kids they say were being hostage were my children, Akila added. I dont know where the hostage thing came from. But I know it was wrong to shoot at my house with my children inside and to then put them in a cop car all night long thats where they slept for the night. What was frightening to all of us was that the police came in like a band of thugs. We didnt do anything wrong we have rights too. The three-year-olds mother, Jensetta Nerestant, 22, reported that she had to take her daughter to the hospital because of glass that got in her head after officers destroyed windows in the home. Lawyer waits for state attorneys office to respond Hilton Napoleon, II, Esq., an attorney at the Florida-based firm of Rasco Klock, has been retained to represent at least one of the family members. He says the initial reports that went out by the press were clearly false. How do you have a hostage situation with both parents home with their children? he asked. This seems to be a case of the police searching for a way to justify their actions. The family says there was a lot of high-fives and showboating from the officers on the scene. For now, all we can do is wait for the state attorneys office to release their report. But how do you explain glass being outside all of the windows? They had to have been broken from inside. Was that necessary to secure the home? There are a lot of questions that will have to be answered. Tim Simmons, 61, lives two doors away from the home no more than 30 feet by his estimate. I have lived here for two years and cannot remember any time where those young men or the family caused any problems and havent seen anything illegal going on he said. We all heard gunshots that night and I can see whats happening on their front steps by looking out my front window. I think the officers were angry because the brother [Akila] did not want to let them inside. This is not a bad family. Calls and e-mails requesting information from the Miami-Dade Police Department public information office were not returned at the time this story went to press. By D. Kevin McNeirkmcneir@miamitimesonline.com