Miami Gardens cops owe residents an apology

Queen Brown | 9/12/2013, 10:18 a.m.

The City Miami Gardens leadership must make a united stand against violence in the community and stop treating the residents as though they are the problem. At a recent anti-violence rally, Miami Gardens Police Chief, Matthew Boyd, called on the residents to stand up, say something and fight back. He went on to say that the people are afraid, are not speaking up and are leaving it to the police to solve the community’s problems associated with crime. Maybe I misunderstood, but I thought it was the job of law enforcement to solve crime. The responsibility of the department is to protect and serve the community. When elderly residents and their grandchildren are gunned down inside of their homes, residents naturally become fearful. Instead of criticizing the residents, it would be more helpful if the Chief’s next move would be to implement strategies that build trust between the police and the residents of Miami Gardens.

Boyd must understand that the residents in Miami Gardens want to live in a city free from drive-by shootings. He should be asking himself why residents, the very people he has a duty to serve and protect, are so afraid to come forward when their lives are at risk. The Chief is right. Residents are afraid. However, a follow-up question might be what is his department doing to make a difference?

No one in their right mind wants the kind of violence we have recently witnessed to continue in Miami Gardens. This holds true for the residents, law enforcement and elected leaders of our City. But in order for us to move forward, we should refrain from pointing fingers and casting blame on the victims for not coming forward and speaking up or fighting back. The police department must work to build trust among the residents in Miami Gardens. It is then and only then, that residents will be motivated to share information with the police. For now, the Department’s preferred tactic seems to be pulling over young Black males in superfluous traffic stops or to profile certain kinds of citizens. Such tactics merely exacerbate the issue as residents feel that they are being needlessly harassed while homicides remain unsolved. The City of Miami Gardens’ leadership needs to step forward and reclaim the trust residents once had in its law enforcement officials. 

Queen Brown is a freelance writer, a motivational speaker and a trained crime victim’s advocate.