- Faith & Family
It was just two years ago when Miami seemed to be on the brink of another riot after nine deadly police-involved shootings of Black men rocked our community, evoking feelings of fear, frustration and especially anger. As the deaths began to pile up, several involving the shootings of unarmed men, protests began to mount and tempers rose.
Many of our citizens, including Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, asked for the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct its own investigation, separate and apart from that of the State Attorney or the City of Miami Police Department. It seemed at the time to be a palpable solution and gave Blacks needed hope that justice would prevail.
The police chief under whose watch the shootings occurred, Miguel Exposito, was replaced by Manuel Orosa. Since Orosa’s term began in February 2011, he has been able to avoid a similar shooting spree fielded by his officers. In addition, Orosa has proposed an action plan, presumably intended to illustrate the Department’s intention to improve their practices and procedures.
The problem, however, is that we are still waiting — waiting to see what’s in the Chief’s plan since he won’t answer our questions — waiting for the Justice Department to give us any indication of their findings — and waiting for the time when we can say we fully trust the City of Miami Police Department.
The Rev. Nathaniel Wilcox, executive director for PULSE, says that serious investigations do take time. But now he wonders just how much longer we have to wait as “the blood of our nine brothers cries out from the streets of Miami.” We wonder the same.
Jeanne Baker, who serves on the City of Miami’s ACLU practices committee, wonders why the City’s Civil Investigative Panel hasn’t been move aggressive in seeking answers regarding the circumstances leading to the police-involved shooting of unarmed DeCarlos Moore, who was killed July 5, 2010. Again, we have similar questions. And we’ve tried to get answers from the Panel — they just haven’t responded.
In fact, a growing coalition of community groups say they want some form of resolution about the Moore shooting. Of course there are other matters that remain unresolved — like the shooting of Travis McNeil whose second anniversary of his death, Feb. 10, 2011, is quickly approaching.
As more and more time passes, the families of these men must continue to wonder ‘why’ and ‘how?” But we also stand the possibility of putting other lives at risk while we wait.
Why is it that Blacks are always asked to be patient? What about when our patience runs out?