DOJ Finds That Miami Police Dept. Violates Fourth Amendment

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The Department of Justice conducted an investigation and found that the Miami Police Dept. (MPD) engages in a pattern or practice of excessive force with respect to firearm discharges, in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Section 14141.  On July 9, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, submitted its report to the Honorable Tomas P. Regalado Mayor, City of Miami, Florida, and Chief Police Manuel Orosa, City of Miami Police Department.


Miami Police Chief, Manuel Orosa

This is the second time that the Department of Justice had cause to investigate the Miami Police Dept. in about a decade.   The current investigation commenced on November 16, 2011, after MPD officers fatally shot seven young African-American men during an eight-month period spanning 2010 and 2011.

Like the 2002 investigation, the current investigation also arose during a wave of corruption allegations involving sworn MPD officers and supervisors, including allegations of extortion and obstruction of justice.

Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General wrote:

“Among other findings, our investigation uncovered a number of troubling MPD practices, including deficient tactics and supervision, as well as significant delays and substantive deficiencies in deadly force investigations.”

In its 14-page report, the DOJ found that shooting investigations fail to adequately analyze and explore facts to determine whether a shooting is justified.  The report outlines many of the cases that the DOJ investigated and highly criticized the MPD’s poor tactics and its failure to timely and thoroughly investigate officer-involved shootings, including where one officer is involved in multiple shootings.  The DOJ report expresses that they are troubled by the delays in MPD investigations.  The MPD appears to first wait for the State’s Attorney to investigate and during that time, does not require those officers involved to prepare written reports of the shootings.  The DOJ found that the practices of the MPD in delaying investigation renders disciplinary action impossible.

Seven officers participated in over a third of the 33 officer-involved shootings reviewed by the DOJ.  All seven officers intentionally discharged their weapons at individuals on multiple occasions over the course of four years. One officer discharged his weapon in four separate incidents during a three-year period, resulting in three deaths.  Another officer fatally shot two suspects in separate incidents within a two-week period, and both of those investigations are still pending after more than two years.

The DOJ noted that from 2010 and 2011, 17 officers were discharged from duty.  Four of the 17 involved officers have since been arrested, indicted, or convicted of crimes unrelated to their on-duty shootings.

Since the DOJ opened its investigation and conducted on-site debriefings, the number of officer-involved shootings decreased to almost half of the total for each of the preceding four years.

The DOJ is hopeful that they can collaborate in the immediate future to craft and implement court-enforceable remedies to correct what they have identified.

DOJ Report on Miami Police Dept., 7-9-13

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22 Responses to DOJ Finds That Miami Police Dept. Violates Fourth Amendment

  1. Trayvon Martin’s mother pays tribute to son in hip hop song

    • Xena says:

      And Asian-Americans, some of whom are as dark or darker than African-Americans, are reading that and remembering that Zimmerman said, “He looks Black.”

    • Yahtc says:

      Anthony’s racist rant just illustrates the intentional “rewrite” of the events of the evening of February 26, 2012.

      These people INTENTIONALLY ignore the fact that Trayvon was profiled and JUDGED by George Zimmerman.

      They intentionally ignore the fact that George Zimmerman’s suspicions of Trayvon were unfounded. Trayvon was simply returning home of the store.

      They intentionally ignore the fact that George Zimmerman never identified himself and pursued Trayvon from one end of the neighborhood to the other, first by car and then on foot.

      They intentionally do not consider what was in George’s heart that night as he said, “These assholes…..they always get away” and “fucking coons”.

      This was a aggressive pursuer with a definite goal who violated Trayvon’s civil rights!

      Trayvon Martin experienced African American’s worst nightmare!

      As MrSkykes wrote on the Leatherman Law Blog the morning before the verdict later that day:

      MrSykes says:
      July 13, 2013 at 8:31 am

      Sorry everyone just have to get something off my chest this morning. This case has shaken me to the core. When I was 14, I was suddenly intercepted by a pair of cops on the street on my way to the corner store one evening to pick up a few snacks and toiletries. I was wearing shorts and a black hoodie at the time, nothing out of the ordinary. The cops drew their guns at me, slammed me on the hood of their patrol car, cuffed me and did a full search. After asking them what was wrong, they responded, “Your momma didn’t whip your ass enough that’s what’s wrong boy. Where’s the weed”!? Seeing that I had nothing but a few dollars on me, they eventually let me go. Instead of an apology, they admonished me to “be more cooperative next time.” (apparently I didn’t have my hands up fast enough). I was absolutely mortified and thought I was going to die. Of course, had they shot me dead they could have easily made up a story about me being the aggressor, and most likely I would have been dismissed as just another black thug dead on the street who probably deserved it. As you can probably guess, this case has hit home for me in a very deep way. I go back to my 14 yr old self and am sobered by the fact that my life or freedom could have so easily been taken away on the mere basis of an assumption of guilt. The prosecutor’s rebuttal argument just about brought me to tears, as he drove home the point that, yes, even young black men have feelings. We are human. We feel fear and pain. We have goals, dreams, and aspirations. We love. We just want to live freely without having to perpetually carry the burden of the wayward among us. I could have been Trayvon, but in a keen sense I already am. You never really shake that tinge of apprehension every time a police car trails you, or when you feel you are being watched/followed by security or even by someone who doesn’t think you belong in their neighborhood. It’s tough growing up having to struggle with knowing that some are automatically going to view you as a menace, no matter how much depth and sensitivity you have as a person. Truth be told it hurts, and while some may act out with outward resentment or even violence, most just remain quietly in the shadows, hoping to someday, somehow, end this seemingly unending existential battle in which they find themselves naked, vulnerable, unwilling participants. I pray justice is served in this case, for the sake of the future that Trayvon or his family will never get to experience, as well as all those other young, promising souls whose futures have been mercilessly robbed by senseless violence. That is all.

  2. Video opposing ‘stand your ground’ laws uses 911 calls from night of Trayvon Martin’s killing

    “Stand Up to ‘Stand Your Ground'”

  3. Ametia says:

    Keep shining the LIGHT, XENA.

    • Xena says:

      @Ametia. It’s my hope that the DOJ will shine the light on Zimmerman’s violation of Trayvon’s civil rights.

  4. DOJ Civil Rights

    For the love of God charge George Zimmerman already. Trayvon Martin’s innocent blood cry out from the grave for justice!

    • Xena says:

      @SG2. Patience, my dear sister. :-)
      The DOJ started their investigation of the Miami police dept. in November 2011, and completed their report in July 2013. It took over a year but that’s what happens at times when doing good, investigative work.

  5. Report: Sharpton defends role in Trayvon Martin case in sermon,0,6092101.story

    Rev. Al Sharpton defended his role in the controversial Trayvon Martin case during a church sermon Sunday, the Daytona Beach News-Journal is reporting.

    Sharpton’s 45-minute sermon was part of the 10th anniversary celebrations of Rev. L. Ronald Durham’s time at the Greater Friendship Baptist Church.

    According to the journal, Sharpton commented on various aspects of the shooting death including telling the congregation that he came to Florida because Trayvon’s family asked him to become involved in the case.

    Earlier this year, a Seminole County jury found Neighborhood Watch volunteer Zimmerman, 29, not guilty of second-degree murder in the Feb. 26, 2012, shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon.

    Sharpton also commented on the firing of Daytona Beach Officer Todd Snipes – the man accused of sharing offensive images related to the trial on social media.

  6. Good Post, Xena! Keep shining the light.

  7. blkheavyweight says:

    I for one am greatful that the justice dept has been setting this up now, maybe, just maybe they will go after the word “felony”. That unfair label has millions of African Americans all but hopeless for the remainder of their lives.There are millions that never went to prison that are classified as felons. It’s just totally rediculous.

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