- Faith & Family
It was February 2011 when Bishop Victor T. Curry, president of the Miami-Dade Branch of the NAACP, held a special radio broadcast pleading for justice. The topic of the show was police-involved shootings and centered on the Feb. 11th  shooting of Travis McNeil, 28 and Kareem Williams, 30. McNeil would die as a result of a single bullet — Williams required hospitalization, surgery and then faced a long recovery after being shot twice. Now, over a year later, the case involving the unarmed motorist, McNeil and his cousin and passenger that took place shortly after the two left the Take One Lounge, has been closed.
In documents obtained from the State Attorneys office, prosecutors have concluded that Officer Reynaldo Goyos committed no crime. It reads, “based on the witness officers’ testimony, the crime scene investigation, the medical examiner’s findings and the future testimony afforded on behalf of Detective Goyos,” our conclusion is that collectively the evidence established a “basis for a justifiable use of deadly force . . . We cannot in good faith proceed with criminal charges against Detective Goyos.”
At the time of McNeil’s death, the city was in an uproar following a string of police-involved shootings of Black men — seven ending fatally out of a total of nine. All but two of the victims, including McNeil as it was later determined, were unarmed. It was in this heated environment that Curry spoke to Miami’s Black community, pleading for calm but also allowing them to vent their anger and frustration.
While McNeil, testimony reports, did reach under his seat, he apparently was trying to retrieve one of two cell phones that had fallen. The prosecution stated that they would not be able to disprove that the officer had “reasonable fear that Mr. McNeil was reaching for a weapon” because other officers said McNeil ignored commands by Goyos to show his hands.
Sheila McNeil, Travis’s mother, said that she is “not satisfied” with Goyos’ clearing.
Two other police-involved shootings remain open cases: Joelle Lee Johnson and Tarnorris Tyrell Gaye.
Brandon Foster case also closed
Meanwhile, the shooting of 22-year-old Brandon Foster, who was shot and killed on Dec. 16, 2010 by City of Miami police after witnesses reported that he was carrying what appeared to be an AK-47, has also been closed. The State Attorney’s office has concluded that the shooting officers were legally justified in their use of force and no criminal charges will be filed against the subject officers.
Foster was first seen in front of Allapattah Middle School and was then seen walking in the area of NW 13th Avenue and NW 46th Street.
Then-Police Chief Miguel Exposito said, “We know nothing about the individual; we don’t know what he was doing carrying the shotgun.”
By D. Kevin McNeir