Miami PD's Seven Fatal Shootings Last Year Now Being Probed by U.S. Justice Department UPDATED

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The fallout from ex-chief Miguel Exposito's reign hasn't ended yet.
Miguel Exposito may be gone, but the blowback from his turbulent reign atop the Miami Police Department hasn't ended yet. Eight months after the last of seven fatal shootings of young black men by Exposito's force, the U.S. Justice Department is set to announce this morning that federal investigators will probe the deadly spree to see if any of the victims' constitutional rights were violated.

Already Miami prosecutors have determined that several of the shootings were justified, but the Miami Herald reports that the feds will be looking for systemic problems in the MPD that led to the deaths. (Pssst -- the feds might want to watch the video of Exposito calling his cops "predators.")

Update: U.S. Attorney Wilfredo Ferrer says the Miami cops shot and killed suspects at a far higher rate than the NYPD or the Washington, D.C. force. Exposito, meanwhile, has released a statement defending his tenure.

The probe, called a "pattern and practice" investigation, according to the Herald, will check out whether the MPD's institutional bias became tilted toward shooting black suspects.

Many on the force and in Overtown complained that Exposito had flipped the department -- which under previous chief John Timoney had once gone 22 months without firing a shot -- 180 degrees to the other extreme.

That attitude was most clearly on display in a leaked reality TV-show promo called Miami's Finest: Special Operations Section, in which Exposito calls his cops "predators" and another cop brags about how he likes to "hunt" criminals.

Making matters worse for MPD, some of the force's least decorated officers were the most trigger happy. Ricardo Martinez shot and killed two suspects during the department's deadly run and was later arrested for trying to sell 100,000 stolen Bluetooth headsets.

Will the federal probe change anything? Exposito is already gone, and the new interim chief, Manuel Orosa, is doing a "top-to-bottom review of everything," spokesman Delrish Moss tells the Herald. (Riptide left a message with Moss this morning, but we haven't heard back yet.)

U.S. Attorney Wilfredo Ferrer is expected to officially announce the probe later this morning. We'll update when we learn more details.


Update: Both Ferrer and Exposito have weighed in on the federal probe. Speaking at the downtown U.S. Attorney's Office, Ferrer says the high rate of fatal police shootings by Miami cops led the feds to check whether "systemic deficiencies" are to blame.

Here's what he says about the shootings (note that the feds are including an eighth fatal shooting that occurred nine months before the seven-men-in-seven-months stretch of killings):

In the past 16 months, we have seen nine police involved shootings that are of concern and are the premise of our investigation. Since July 2010, MPD officers shot and killed eight young men and critically wounded a ninth man. By comparison, the country's largest police force, the New York City Police Department had one fatal shooting for every 4,313 officers in 2010, while Miami had one fatal shooting for every 220 officers. Washington D.C., with a larger population and police force, had no fatal shootings by police in 2010, compared to five by the Miami Police Department.

Exposito sent out a long letter defending his time as police chief, suggesting that his aggressive approach led to significant drops in crime in Miami's most troubled neighborhoods. 

Here's his letter in full: 

On November 16, 2011, the US Attorney's office in Miami announced that they would be initiating a probe into the "patterns and practices" of the Miami Police Department in their police-involved shootings that occurred in the latter part of 2010 and in 2011. In this civil investigation, there would be an examination of police policies and training involving deadly force, with a goal of determining if there were any systemic flaws. 

As I have stated in the past as Chief and since my separation from the Miami Police Department, I welcome any investigation into the actions of the officers, so much so, that I invited the US Justice Department, through the FBI's Civil Rights Division to participate in all of our post-shooting meetings where evidence and material facts were discussed at length.

This action on my part, which was unprecedented in the police department is a good practice, and was an example of my philosophy of transparency. FBI investigators actually participated in most of the aforementioned meetings pursuant to my initial request for their involvement, shortly after the first shooting in July 2010. 

I also reached out to the family members of the deceased and met with those who accepted my invitation; the purpose of the meetings was to give a clear understanding of the investigative process and to explain the responsibilities of those involved in the probes. The only other Miami Police chief to even come close to meeting with the families was Donald Warshaw, who was present at meetings he held, but had the investigative supervisors speak with the family members. 

Although I would have preferred to give specific details of the cases, it is unfortunate that I was unable to do so. This was due to the fact that I needed to maintain the integrity of the investigations until a decision was made by the state attorney's office. In addition, classes were initiated under my administration, wherein the clergy and other community leaders such as Brian Dennis of Brothers of the Same Mind, Pastor Carl Johnson and dozens of other true community leaders were invited to observe and participate in training classes offered to entry-level officers. 

I must point out several facts that are important to note in reference to the police-related shootings that occurred under my administration. First, the number of fatal shootings in my first year at the helm of the police department was no more than the number of fatal shootings in last year of the previous Chief. 

The number of police shootings remained constant even though we took more than 400 firearms off the street from the year prior. The shooting policy in place when I took over the department, which is possibly the most restrictive in the state of Florida, was still in effect when I left the department and the training did not change. 

What did change was the frequency with which deadly force training took place; we provided annual training, with tactical unit officers receiving deadly force training every three months, wherein the state mandate was every four years. 

 The prevalence of crime in certain areas may have impacted on the number of police-involved shootings. When I took over the department, the community requested an increase of police presence. I doubled the number of tactical officers, whose primary function was crime suppression from 65 to 130. Due to this increase of violent crime as a result of drug sales, gang activity and other factors, these tactical officers were assigned to work around the clock and on weekends, something that they had not done prior.

As a result, violent crimes such as robberies and sexual assaults dropped to levels not seen in Miami in over 40 years. Recent editorials in local newspapers and newscasts have already alluded to an increase of violence in some of the city's neighborhoods partly due to a significant reduction of tactical officers on the city's streets. 

The dismantling of an effective Miami Police Department has begun at the behest of the city's administrator and other politicians who have no police experience and are simply doing what is politically expedient. I trust that this is not an attempt by the U.S. Attorney's office to politicize what should otherwise be an apolitical process. 

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Simonlarah
Simonlarah

Regarding the shooting of blacks...most of the people committing the crimes are in fact black. Lets be real..It is an epidemic and culture of crime..The black activists should start policing them selves in their neighborhoods...There is no excuse for the behavior of these people. And now we have another urban weekend coming. Good luck toMB police....

BlackWallStreet10mm
BlackWallStreet10mm

You guys in Florida think you have had a lot of police shootings? In Albuquerque we have had 21 police shootings in 24 months, 15 of which were fatal. Several cases involve officers shooting suspects  in the back. We still have not had any DOJ  investigations, even though they keep talking about it. I'm not sure what makes Miami's seven shootings more important than our 21, but we need the DOJ to come here and do the same for us as they are for Miami.

P.S. APD payed 7 million dollars in settlement money in the past two years for everything from wrongful arrests and deaths to malicious prosecution. In one case, they had to pay several hundred thousand dollars to the family of a woman who was murdered by her APD cop husband, who then had his APD friends help him tamper with evidence at the scene. He is being charged with her murder. Out city and its police department make the Rampart CRASH officers look like angels.

SickOfTheStupid
SickOfTheStupid

Oh come on 10mm you and I both know the DOJ is not much better than APD at this point. The way things are going now days we cant depend on help from the fed's, in fact we can expect the opposite.We are going to have to take matters into our own hands with recalls of the scummy city counsel, and mayor.............that and suing the heck out of the city in class action law suits.

PS , nice digs you should come hang out with us some on Raw Story too......

BlackWallStreet10mm
BlackWallStreet10mm

Yes, but what I said in my comment was that we deserve better from the DOJ, and it could go without saying that we deserve much better from our own local LEO's and the departments they work for. The current abysmal state of our union, from LA to NYC and every small town in between, should not exempt us from demanding actual justice from this so called "Justice Department." Right now they are, in reality, the department of very little justice, and often injustice.

It is my opinion that Hoover was the one to introduce the concept of breaking the laws to enforce the laws. Hoover was really the one who started subverting the Department of Justice, and essentially changing the entire face of law enforcement; some for good, but by far, mostly for worse. It now seems to be a systemic sickness that infects every law enforcement agency in the nation.

Now, we have a militarized police state where dozens of military style SWAT raids take place every day. It is way too often that we hear about an innocent person being accidentally shot to death in a raid, because in this case one death is way too many. If you are unlucky enough to live in a state like Tennessee, they will raid your house if they think you have a dime bag of weed. I'm expecting to soon see police raids on people who have outstanding debts to creditors.

By the way, suing the police department and its cops won't do much good. The DA's office will never allow the citizens of Albuquerque to get actual justice in court against the officers who may have wrongfully shot and killed a suspected criminal. That would involve doing their job correctly and justly, which they don't consider part of their job requirement. You see, we the people, the citizens of this union, have been cast aside as virtually worthless to the elite class. Our lives and everything we may suffer through in life, doesn't mean anything to them. They want us to just go to work, do our jobs, come home and shut the h*ll up. They do not want to hear anything about how there are starving children and homeless people suffering, or that the banks are taking advantage of every one, or that our civil liberties keep being taking away from us. They also don't want to hear about how some cowardly lion of a cop got nervous and scared before he wrongfully shot and killed your loved one. They want to just white wash the whole thing and claim that all 21 people deserved to get shot.

Sadly, we can no longer count on our votes to mean much of anything either. Our votes do not matter, because both parties are essentially the same. The only differences are entirely superficial and meaningless. Both D's and R's are wealthy and only concerned about keeping their job as an elected official. They can only get reelected if they have the funding from the corporations, not the people. So it is natural that they must obey the orders of the corporations that fund their campaigns, or else some other brown nosed grifter will take their place. They get insider trading information, which is illegal for the rest of us Americans. If they are not wealthy when they enter office, they are certainly wealthy when they leave office. We cannot vote for anyone honest or willing to do what the voters want, rather than what the corporations want. Those type of people are not allowed to enter the political playing field. Anyone who comes close to being of, for, and by the people will be treated like Gary Johnson was treated. They will shut them out and not even give them a chance to be on a ballot.

Those bastards!

Dariengia
Dariengia

Dear Mr. Exposito:

You are like a canker sore on the people of Miami. 

Your tenure in Miami reeks of ill health.

Do us all a favor and go somewhere far away to heave off all your brutal thoughts.

Sincerely,  A Miami Native

VW
VW

Justifyable or not. Black or White. We all have a right to justice. But, it need to be handle the right way and that is by the law. And to say that black should not point guns at cop is racial. Are just signaling out just one minority group, just to say that black should not point guns at cops. There are other ethnic group that have gun.

Flyguy32824
Flyguy32824

Anyone that holds a weapon with the intent to do harm, must be neutralized in any way, form or fashion.

DMICHAEL3RD
DMICHAEL3RD

WHEN MY GUN COLLECTION WAS STOLEN, INCLUDING TWO FULL AUTO MACHINE GUNS, I CALLED EVERYONE WITH THE CITY OF MIAMI BEACH, CITY OF MIAMI, COUNTY OF MIAMI-DADE, STATE OF FLORIDA, DEA, FBI, BATF AND THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.......NOT ONE OF THEM ANSWERED THEIR TELEPHONE OR RETURNED ANY OF MY CALLS.  HOWEVER A GUN STORE IN LAS VEGAS WAS ROBBED OF 10 PISTOLS AND THE BATF POSTED A $50,000.00 REWARD FOR INFO.  WHERE IS THE JUSTICE IN THIS COUNTRY.  APPARENTLY, AS MAO SAID, 'JUSTICE COMES OUT OF THE BARREL OF A GUN", IN THIS CASE THE  BARREL  OF A MIAMI AND MIAMI BEACH POLICE OFFICER AND THE CRIMINALS THEY ARE TOO CHICKEN SHIT TO PURSUE AND THE USLESS OTHER MEMBERS AND DEPARTMENTS OF LAW ENFORCEMENT.

Timelfrink
Timelfrink

It's the cops fault.  Historic Overtown is a peaceful area.

malasangre
malasangre

if i ever get run off my job i'm going to call it a separation.  lol

J_zangie
J_zangie

  WoW!   I hope this means the feds will look into the kid from easton ma. Who was killed in cold blood by a newyork officer. The incedent where one officer tells the kid to move his car and another jumps on the hood and just shoots into it. It was just sad that two different dept. were thier and both depts squad cars the cameras weren't working {right} . Some do or most desreve what comes thier way as they compromise themselves. This one here just STINKS and that officer has problems be it drugs,booze or mental issues. The costapo was toppled folks

EoTs
EoTs

And while this was occuring, police officers in Florida were being killed in record numbers also.

malasangre
malasangre

this is about Miami goober.  re-read?

EoTs
EoTs

And while this was going on, cops were being shot and killed in record numbers in Florida also.

tezvoo
tezvoo

Well, one thing is for sure, we all know the Feds have no shortage of Spare time on their hands!

anon-net.us.tc

Matthew Earl
Matthew Earl

Maybe these Occupy Miami protesters should protest the Miami PD for its unprofessional tactics. Never in my life have I seen such a department with this magnitude of inadequacy. Their latest incident with the FHP does not make matters any better either. It's not like this is something new, these Miami officers have been killing people in certain neighborhoods for years.

malasangre
malasangre

they would just shoot 'em and say someone sneezed and it scared them.

Stupid blacks
Stupid blacks

Blacks need to learn not to point guns at cops. Only idiots give cops attitude.

malasangre
malasangre

fuck the police.. is that a killable offense stupd dick

nanook5
nanook5

screw these never-ending investigations. everyone's so willing to forget that cops wounded innocent bystanders on miami beach weekend and six months later we don't even know who was responsible for that ****ed up death by firing squad let alone seek justice from them.

malasangre
malasangre

after their are investigations there will investigations of the investigation to be sure everything was investigated and then they will investigate themselves and find out everything was actually just peachy.  the usual report will find a couple of "bad apples". they will already be out or convicted no one present will be blamed.   of course po-po never finishes the quote that says "spoils the whole barrel"

Lukeisstupid
Lukeisstupid

Is this the same Justice Department that supplied Mexican Cartels with weapons that killed American federal agents?

Listen, police kill people when they have guns and feel their life is being threatened. Black, White, Asian, Period. Maybe the reason they were all black is because the shootings happened in overtown where 99.99% of the population is black. 

malasangre
malasangre

and they also kill people, say they THOUGHT they had guns when they did'nt.  please explain. 

Me
Me

But that's just it because they were in overtown they were already assumed guilty. You don't see Pinecrest, doral or even Miami Gardens police shooting people at a simple traffic stop

Lukeisstupid
Lukeisstupid

There is no such thing as a simple traffic stop. Your not aware of the stress officers are put under every time they pull a car over. When was the last time you confronted somebody for doing something illegal? Cops do it everyday.

ballanross
ballanross

I chased hookers, johns & pimps away from our neighborhood allies for 6 years, with success. As time went on, fewer & fewer chose to do biz there. I broke up a hooker fight while their pimp pointed a gun at my back. No pigs, unarmed. I had only a little vid camera I got as a free premium w/ zine scrip. Most of the time the batteries were dead & I didn't always have it w/ me at all. An amateur, I used my head, not a gun like pigs overuse. Too much stress doing the job you chose? Too much to be professional? Do the job right or quit! In 2012 USA, it's a major new Fuck The Pigs Era beginning. Pigs have shit on citizencivilians too long. It's either going to stop, or the blue line WILL be bloody for pigs for a switch. They're disgustingly the same nationwide...sadistic. Many people I know never call pigs anymore. We handle probs ourselves to keep youpigs away from decent people, whch 2012 pigs are not.

malasangre
malasangre

oh yeah   waaah i asked for id so when he pulled his wallet i shot him.  almost forgot that golden oldie.  you're full of it.  a traffic stop is when all the roid rage may have a chance to come out.  yea cop being confronted at a traffic stop is so common.  could you figure number of stops vs the perp attack ( minus piggy overreaction perhaps)  just a guess would be thousands perhaps 100'000 to one.  course you might all be overreacting scared little bitches who wouldnt confront anyone without a gun. cops act like it every day

malasangre
malasangre

waaah the job i signed up for is hard.   waah people think for some reason I'm a dick  waah life isn't simple. waaah everybody be good i'll shoot you.   waaah love me like my beatin up wife does.   waaah someone told cause i ripped some peasant off.   waaah even though i shoot two people and hi-jack trucks of phone parts dont hate me..  waaah its hard to ride around all day shooting up steroids.  waaah it stressful killing homeless guys  and being charged with murder.waaaah only my fellow officers think i'm a hero though i tell ever one i am.waaah contempt of cop.  lick me

michael wind
michael wind

police in miami are stressed out,the drinking,the girlfriends,the wifes,extra job,police malpractice its all very stressfull,let them all retire and hire everyone new and give them regular lie detector tests,

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