The son of an Israeli consular officer was arrested over the weekend after police say he intentionally ran over a cop on his motorcycle during a traffic stop in Sunny Isles Beach.
Avraham Yehuda Gil, 19, is charged with aggravated battery of a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest with violence, court records show. The Aventura man was also fined $300 after officers said he was driving without a driver’s license nor a motorcycle endorsement, which is a state requirement.
During his bond hearing on Sunday, Gil’s attorney told the judge the suspect is the son of a diplomat; therefore, he has “consular immunity.” His father is Eli Gill, consul for the administration at the Consulate General of Israel in Miami, the Herald confirmed.
“Mr. Gil was simply driving and had no intention to hit the police officer, and there is no evidence to the contrary,” attorney David Seltzer told the Miami Herald in an email Wednesday. “When all the facts come to light, we are confident Mr. Gil will be exonerated.”
In a statement Thursday to the Herald, Seltzer maintained the Sunny Isles Police Department “failed to follow protocols and procedures in place to identify if Mr. Gil, in fact, had immunity.”
The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office said the case remains open.
“Defense counsel’s representation was relied upon and the defendant was released on his own recognizance,” the state attorney’s office said in a statement to the Herald. “After receiving confirmation from the State Department, Office of Foreign Missions, that neither the defendant nor his father have diplomatic immunity, we are proceeding as usual with our investigation.”
The State Department, too, corroborated this.
“We can confirm that, as the dependent of an Israeli consular officer, the concerned individual is not entitled to civil or criminal immunity,” the department said in a statement.
The Consulate General declined to comment about the case, and instead referred all questions to Seltzer, Gill’s attorney.
What happened in Sunny Isles Beach?
Around 3:35 p.m. Saturday, Sunny Isles Beach Lt. Ruben Zamora was walking from his marked patrol car to a vehicle he had stopped on Collins Avenue, about 50 feet from 174th Street, when he saw Gil on a 2018 black Suzuki motorcycle driving between cars and heading toward him, according to his arrest report and traffic citations. Zamora told him loudly to stop but Gil continued, police said.
“Lt. Zamora stated that the defendant then intentionally ran him over at which point he grabbed the defendant with both of his hands and redirected him towards the ground to stop him,” the report states.
After Zamora suffered “incapacitating injuries” to his left leg, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue paramedics took him to HCA Florida Aventura Hospital. Photos provided by police show Zamora’s bruised leg and the motorcycle Gil was driving.
Sunny Isles Beach Police Chief Edward Santiago declined an interview with the Herald via Lieutenant Luke J. Plesa. When asked why Zamora believed Gil ran him over on purpose, Plesa declined comment.
The incident was not recorded by nearby security cameras, said Plesa, who noted that Sunny Isles Beach police officers do not wear body cameras nor do their patrol cars have dash cams.
“The only footage is the vehicles traveling on Collins Ave. just prior to the incident,” Plesa said in an email.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Zamora has been with Sunny Isles Beach for nearly 25 years. It also says he has been an adjunct instructor at Miami Dade College School of Justice for the last 13 years. He is on “light duty assignment” as he recuperates from his leg injury, Plesa said.
Miami-Dade traffic record
Saturday was not the first time police stopped Gil in the past month in Miami-Dade County.
On Dec. 31, Gil was issued hundreds of dollars in infractions after a Miami Shores police officer said he was caught driving over the 35 mph limit on Biscayne Boulevard in a black Suzuki motorcycle with a consulate license plate covered by another plate that read “PLS CHASE,” traffic county records show.
Gil’s motorcycle on Saturday did not have a license plate, according to Sunny Isles Beach police.
As of Wednesday, Gil owed $537 in traffic fines, records show.