ACLU and NAACP Want Civilian Panel to Investigate Miami Police Shootings

The organizations want answers on eight black men killed by Miami police over the past 10 months.

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Police shootings in Miami are being investigated.

The Miami Herald is reporting that local NAACP President Victor Curry is calling for a civilian investigation of police shootings following the police-involved shooting death of Travis McNeil earlier this month. He and the ACLU have called on the Florida attorney general to intervene and asked U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Miami) to write a letter to the Justice Department.

The ACLU presented a letter last week to the city's Civilian Investigative Panel, listing dates and names of the men killed by police between July 2010 and February 2011 and one killed by a Miami-Dade police officer. They said the number of shootings is disproportionate when compared with larger cities such as New York City, in which the population is 20 times larger than in Miami.

Charles Rabin of the Miami Herald reports, "The people in our community deserve to know that every unit of government that has a role with regard to these issues is fulfilling its responsibility to address these urgent matters," said the letter signed by ACLU Executive Director Howard Simon, Curry, ACLU Attorney John DeLeon and past NAACP President Brad Brown. The letter goes on to say, "There is now a crisis in the Miami Police Department, and it is resulting in the death of black men."

The city's Civilian Investigative Panel is a semi-independent authority created to look into police misconduct allegations. Its 13-member board is made up of nine members appointed by city commissioners, three by the mayor and one by the police chief. At the time, Miami was one of only five cities nationwide in which the civilian panel had subpoena powers.

Eight "police involved" shootings in 10 months sounds like a reason to investigate. Hopefully the CIP, which has been plagued with infighting and budget issues, can get itself together to help determine what, if anything, can be done to reduce the number of "police involved" shootings in Miami. After all, justice should trump politics, right?

Read more at the Miami Herald.

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