Critics Fault Miami-Dade for Delays In Probing 63 Police Shootings


There are 63 unresolved police shootings in Miami-Dade County dating back to March 2006, of which 25 involve fatalities, says the Miami Herald. The delays in investigating them, like some of the shootings, have fostered distrust of law enforcement, especially in Miami's black inner city, where a history of questionable police shootings stretches back decades and has led to civil unrest. Prosecutors say they are doing the best they can under a crushing case load. In her 18 years as state attorney, Katherine Fernandez Rundle has never prosecuted a police officer for killing someone while on duty.

The lack of basic information from authorities is as frustrating to relatives and community activists as the lack of prosecutions. Since the fatal Memorial Day shooting of motorist Raymon Herisse in a fusillade of police gunfire that was videotaped and posted on YouTube, Miami Beach police have refused to release such details as the identities of the officers or how many times the victim was shot. The case is under investigation and could be for years. “It shouldn't take three or four years for a case to resolve,” said the Rev. Carl Johnson, of Liberty City's 93rd Street Baptist Church. “It's not good for the confidence of the community and confidence of who has suffered the loss of a loved one, justifiable or not justifiable.” Last year, criticism of delayed justice came from an unlikely source: Miami Police Chief Miguel Exposito. After a spate of seven police-involved shootings involving his department and black victims stirred anger, Exposito said it was the state attorney's office, not his department, that was dragging its heels on whether any and all were justified. Miami-Dade Police Director Jim Loftus, whose department has investigated the majority of the open cases, acknowledged that “there is no reason that it should take six years for us collectively to come to some sort of determination” on certain shootings.

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