Police arrest suspect accused of destroying car during protest in Miami

MIAMI (WSVN) - Police have arrested a man accused of destroying a car during a Black Lives Matter protest in Miami back in May.

They have already charged several people with looting, but the latest person arrested lives in a county north of Tampa.

Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina made a promise to hold anyone who looted that day accountable.

A man used a blue cooler to smash the windshield of a car, and someone posted the video on social media.

It was Saturday, May 30, and Colina said, at that point, the peaceful protests had already turned violent.

The violent destruction went down near the police department headquarters.

“If anyone thought they were going to come here, harm one of our police officers or destroy property and think that they got away with it that day and so they got away with it, they’re crazy,” Colina said.

The blue car belongs to a Miami Police Academy instructor.

Several protesters jumped in.

Police said the looters later set the car on fire, as well as other police cars.

“And the irony is that that vehicle belongs to somebody who teaches de-escalation training,” noted Colina, “and that’s the very vehicle that they’re destroying.”

Chief Colina stands before the community again with the same message.

“Obviously the behavior here that you saw in that video is not peacefully protesting. That is a violation of the law,” Colina said.

With the help of anonymous tips, police identified the protester holding the cooler in the social media video as Sebastian Manuel Romero and caught up with him.

“It is disturbing to see someone so young be so full of hate and violence to have done what he did,” said Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo.

Now Romero is facing serious charges, including inciting a riot.

“We don’t know why he did it. Hopefully, he will speak to law enforcement and let us know why,” Colina said.

Police officers have caught seven people involved in what they call acts of violence on that day, including throwing bottles and rocks at cops and setting other cars on fire — something they won’t tolerate.

Colina said they have other people they’re still going after.

“If we didn’t get you that day, then we were going to get you tomorrow, or we’re going to get you sooner or later,” he said.

Colina said the police department will be working with the State Attorney so that Romero can pay for all the damages he caused to the car on the night of the protest.

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