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Woman Pepper-Sprayed During Miami Beach Arrest Filing Lawsuit

NBC Miami logo NBC Miami 11/10/2021 Steve Litz
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A woman who was shoved with a bicycle and pepper sprayed during her arrest in Miami Beach over the summer is filing a lawsuit.

Mariyah Maple said she's filing the suit against three Miami Beach Police officers, claiming they they violated her constitutional rights during her July 25 arrest.

"I was maced and I was hit with a bike and it was all for no reason," Maple said Tuesday.

Maple claims she was fired from her nursing job after her employer got word of the arrest.

Maple, from Buffalo, was in town celebrating her birthday weekend when she began recording a traffic stop.

Cell phone video showed an officer hitting Maple with his bicycle then pepper-spraying her.

Police charged Maple with violating a new city ordinance requiring people to stay 20 feet away from an officer while an arrest is happening.

Around the same time, another video surfaced of a bystander taken down by several Miami Beach police officers while recording an arrest.

As a result of those incidents, Miami Beach Police Chief Rick Clements suspended the ordinance in order for officers to be better trained.

The department said the training was completed and the ordinance is active again.

Authorities later dropped the criminal charge against Maple, but the mother of two said the damage has been done, especially when it comes to her nursing career.

"I tried to apply for another job and they told me that my fingerprints came back that I was arrested and that I had to show proof that everything was dropped," Maple said. "It just seems like they don’t want to go further with employment because of the arrest."

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Maple claims the police officers violated her fourth amendment rights which prevent the government from illegal search and seizures and false arrests.

Her lawyer, Jared Kosoglad, said he sees a pattern in policing.

"The police disciplinary systems are so broken in Miami Beach and this country more generally, that police officers don’t get disciplined when they lie or when they abuse citizens on video," he said. "The only way citizens can get any kind of justice in this country when police victimize them, is by filing lawsuits, and that is what we are going to do here."

A spokeswoman for Miami Beach said they typically don’t comment on matters involving litigation.

The police sergeant seen in the video with Maple, Vincent Stella, is still on patrol while the investigation into the matter continues.

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