Miami’s Police Department, facing allegations of brutality and civil rights violations at last fall’s trade summit protest, says it followed the rules and did not break any laws, the Miami Herald reports. “Collectively, the operation was a success,” Deputy Chief Frank Fernandez told the city’s Civilian Investigative Panel. Fernandez, Police Chief John Timoney, and a few officers defended the department against allegations of heavy-handed tactics, saying they used force only when necessary to protect themselves against violent protesters.
They showed a 40-minute video of police defending themselves from angry protesters in Miami and elsewhere, saying the images showed the reason for such a heavy police presence, which critics have called a “police state.”
Officers said they learned a few lessons. Timoney even apologized for a statement attributed to him in a Herald report. “I don’t remember saying the words that I allegedly said,” Timoney said. “But be that as it may, if I did, I shouldn’t have. It’s unprofessional. There is no place, even in heat of battle, to say stuff like that.”
Timoney became angry when a panel member asked him if any officers who did not follow proper protocol would be disciplined. He said that all disciplinary action had been taken by the department. The internal affairs office has investigated two complaints filed by the department, as well as media reports alleging brutality.
Civil libertarians remained critical. “The report by the police department was either corruption or incompetence,” said Naomi Archer, spokeswoman for the Save Our Civil Liberties Campaign, a coalition of groups. “It was either a coverup or incompetence, because they do not have the ability to realize what was going on out there.”