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Miami police officer becomes mentor to teen who attacked him with a skateboard during a protest

Kaylee Greenlee, DCNF

A Miami police officer who was hit in the head by a teenage protester with a skateboard became one of his biggest supporters and mentors months after the incident, the Miami Herald reported Friday.

Michael Marshall, 17, attacked Miami Police Officer Raymon Washington during a protest that descended into clashes between demonstrators and police on June 10, the Herald reported. Now, Washington frequently attends Marshall’s high school football games and sits with the teen’s family. The two often talk about football, family, and life.

“I was that kid — high school athlete, wanted to go to college. Had offers on the [table]. I was like, I don’t want to screw this kid up. If I can change one life, and that’s it, then that’s it,” Washington said prior to meeting with Marshall. “I should have been dead three times this year. For some reason, God was like, you’re here for a reason.”

Marshall and Washington met in a conference room at the Miami-Dade Children’s Courthouse on Oct. 12, the Herald reported. Washington was apprehensive about the meeting, but when they sat down together he gave Marshall his personal cell phone number, offered him rides to and from football practice, and offered to help him find a tutor.

Marshall hadn’t personally interacted with police or ever been to a protest before he was arrested, the Herald reported. He didn’t know any of the other protesters, and he arrived alone after his mother dropped him off.

“It was important to me as a young Black man to go out there and stand with my people,” Marshall said, the Herald reported. “It was important to represent something way bigger than me.”

Protesters vandalized statues of Christopher Columbus and Juan Ponce de León and fights broke out between the demonstrators and law enforcement, the Herald reported.

“The uproar — I understood it because I’m Black myself,” Washington said, the Herald reported. “I still get stopped in my neighborhood in my car by the police. I get it. There is change that needs to happen but tearing up the city is not one way.”

Marshall hit Washington over the head with his skateboard as Washington fought with a protester, the Herald reported. He turned himself in after police received an anonymous tip that it was Marshall who attacked Washington.

Marshall said he was filled with remorse after the incident. “When I was going home, I looked around and realized this took a hard curve and it wasn’t for me,” Marshall said, the Herald reported.

Washington suffered numerous concussions while playing football in high school and college, the Herald reported.

“I took a shower, ordered a pizza and slept for three days,” Washington said, the Herald reported. “I woke up to my brother kicking in my front door. They thought I was dead.”

Marshall faces charges of aggravated battery of a law enforcement officer, but prosecutors will drop all charges if he completes probation, the Herald reported. He was granted a plea deal including no jail time, probation until his 19th birthday, and volunteer hours at the Miami Police Department.

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