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Feds: Miami Police's Use of Excessive Force Violated Fourth Amendment

Categories: Crime, The Badge

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Following a spree in which City of Miami Police shot and killed seven black men, many of them unarmed, in a span of eight months between 2010 and 2011, the Department of Justice has found that the department's pattern of using excessive force was in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The feds' years-long investigation also found that the department was lax in investigating wrongdoings and rarely held its own accountable.

From the DOJ's findings:

Between 2008 and 2011, officers intentionally shot at individuals on 33 separate occasions, three of which MPD itself found unjustified. The department found that a number of MPD practices, including deficient tactics, improper actions by specialized units, as well as egregious delays and substantive deficiencies in deadly force investigations, contributed to the pattern or practice of excessive force.

The report alleges that the department dragged its feet on internal investigations into whether certain shootings were justifiable and that a small number of police were involved in a disproportionately high number of shootings, yet the investigations into those officers were delayed.

This is the second time the DOJ has investigated the department. MPD also came under scrutiny in 2002.

"Although MPD appeared to correct course after our first investigation, many of the systemic problems that we previously identified returned to root deeply in MPD's practices. Our findings should serve as a catalyst to help MPD and the City of Miami restore the community's confidence in fair, effective, and accountable law enforcement," said Roy L. Austin Jr., deputy assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division. "We look forward to collaborating with Chief Orosa, Mayor Regalado, and the people of Miami to create and implement a comprehensive, court-enforceable plan to ensure sustainable reform."

The shootings occurred under the controversial tenure of Chief Miguel Expositio.

"Under [former Chief John] Timoney, he preached not to use deadly force unless it's the last alternative," Larry Handfield, a lawyer chairing a panel formed by city Commissioner Richard Dunn to investigate the shootings, told New Times in 2010. "The new message [under Exposito] is, 'We'll take the streets back and meet violence with violence.' That permeates down."

Perhaps most damningly, Exposito was caught on film during the shooting of a failed reality-TV pilot describing his officers as "predators."

Exposito was fired in 2011, oddly only after a very public feud with Mayor Tomás Regalado over video gambling parlors.

Update: Current Police Chief Manny Orosa has released a statement on the DOJ's findings. Here's his full statement:

On July 8, 2013, the Miami Police Department received a response from Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice (D.O.J.) - Civil Rights Division, regarding their investigation of use of deadly force by Miami Police officers that occurred during the previous police administration. We are thankful to the D.O.J. for their acknowledgment, in writing, of a significant decrease in police-involved shootings in 2012. Success in this area comes as a result of reforms established under my direction. The D.O.J.'s findings have reached us one year after the Miami Police Department's efforts to address all concerns regarding the shootings via a comprehensive report to D.O.J. highlighting numerous corrective actions taken by Chief Manuel Orosa and his administration. Our report indicated the agency's course of action to both investigate the shootings thoroughly and establish practices aimed at preventing their repetition. The Miami Police Department welcomes this long-awaited response and looks forward to the opportunity to clarify several components of the letter, as well as to labor intensely to negotiate an agreement with the Department of Justice, as promptly as possible. While I understand the importance this matter has to our community, please consider this statement my sole comment at the current time until such agreement is reached between the Miami Police Department and the D.O.J. The Miami Police Department will strive to continue providing professional police services in accordance with the tenets of the Constitution of the United States of America.
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14 comments
frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

so do the MATH - come around every TEN YEARs and find the same problems = period

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

basically MIAMI is a poor and unresourced BIG CITY with all the problems and none of the funds available THERFORE

OVERreaction by POLICE is based on the UNdue burden on the POLICE to keep a lid on things despite not being properly supported or funded

ALL for the sake of ATTRACTING TOURISTs by keeping crime down - even if that means being overly aggressive against offenders denying their rights or outright shooting them cold

MIAMI simply cannot show the world especially the traveling visitors HOW bad MIAMI is and allow the bad news on CRIME to get out to that VISITING PUBLIC

so MIAMI P D is under extreme pressure to shoot troublesome BLACKs and potentially dangerous CUBAN marielitos

and ask the questions later BEFORE germans or canadiens find out what a REAL and PRESENT danger they are at RISK of and book their vacations elsewhere

officials must weigh the local residents rights against the perception of money spending tourists who visit and would go elsewhere if the risk was exposed to them

Aleric Constantin
Aleric Constantin

@andre. I was never warned, brother. Arresting me was a huuuge exaggeration. A "P.T.S." was the most they should have done for a minor misdemeanor. They wanted to clear out the Mass, plain and simple. They were looking to arrest anyone at that point. The truth will be reviled after the 26th. =]

icculus17
icculus17 topcommenter

just don't mess with their pensions!

robert.n.nielsen
robert.n.nielsen topcommenter

Aside from the fact that critical mass is for pussies The cops in this city are the fucking enemy of the people. The force of uneducated mongoloids, who had no hopes at college after failing at high school sports, and living thier lives as bullies and thoughtless easily lead automotons now serve the biggest forms of filth. Whats sad is these retards who "serve and protect" either get off on excessive displays of ultra-violence or actully believe in the end their service to the corrupt will land them a piece of the pie when the rest of us are enslaved. Little do they know they are disposbale pawns in a larger game that they are too foolish to forsee. It would make sense why the biggest idiots are hired to be cops. The people of your country look down upon you in disgust. Do not expect to be spared when change comes when you have nievely been the strong arm of the filth controling this great land.

Jayan Bertrand
Jayan Bertrand

I feel so bad for the good cops that are getting hate for no reason because of these bad apples

Frank Castle
Frank Castle

Fuck the police..no wonder why everybody hates them

Henry Moses
Henry Moses

politicians let it happen all in get a cut federal and state don't give a fuck!

Evan Gallette
Evan Gallette

Miami Police are always searching people without warrants or probable cause, they all think they are still in Cuba.

Andre Armando
Andre Armando

I'm not defending either side, but the police report states the ice cream vendor did not have a vendor's license... and he was given a warning a month before he was arrested.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

MIAMI simply cannot show the world especially the traveling visitors HOW bad MIAMI is and allow the bad news on CRIME to get out to that VISITING PUBLIC

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

MIAMI simply cannot show the world especially the traveling visitors HOW bad MIAMI is

IT WOULD allow the bad news on CRIME to get out to that VISITING PUBLIC who would go somewhere else to spend their money

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