Why Now? New DOJ Report States Miami Cops Use Excessive Force Against Blacks

Published on July 9, 2013


Could the release of this report at this time have anything to do with the Zimmerman trial?

MIAMI —The U.S. Department of Justice has  concluded that the Miami Police Department engaged in a pattern of excessive use  of force in the fatal shootings of seven black suspects over an eight-month  period.

The Department of Civil Rights Division has been investigating Miami’s Police Department since November of 2011.

Assistant Attorney General  Thomas E. Perez released the findings in a letter to Mayor Tomas  Regalado and Chief Manuel Orosa.

Below is a small portion of the DOJ’s findings:

We find that MPD engages in a pattern or practice of excessive force with respect to firearms discharges, in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Section 14141. In 2006, we closed our first investigation confident that MPD had adopted and implemented the reforms necessary to ensure constitutional policing, as well as a system of accountability to ensure that those reforms would endure. Unfortunately, many of the systemic problems we believed were fixed have reoccurred, evidenced by a steady rise in officer-involved shootings.2 As detailed further below, MPD itself recently found three of these shootings unjustified, and we found that a number of additional shootings were questionable at best. Many arose as a result of tactical and/or operational deficiencies, and opportunities to learn from these deficiencies were squandered by inadequate and untimely investigations. While the significant decrease in the number of shootings in 2012 while under increased public scrutiny indicates that MPD may be capable of addressing this problem,3 it also underscores that the previous spike in officer-involved shootings may have been avoidable, and that continued, court-enforceable oversight is necessary to ensure lasting reforms.

 The  shootings from July 2010 to February 2011 took place during the tenure of former  Chief Miguel Exposito, who was fired in 2011 during outcry from black community  leaders about the shootings.

The  department also found deficiencies in tactics and supervision and delays in  deadly force investigations.

Orosa  made changes in police tactics in high-crime areas that sharply reduced  confrontations and police shootings.

State  prosecutors have so far not ruled any of the shootings as unjustified.

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