Protesters at a Miami free trade conference last November are due “heartfelt apologies” because they were met by the equivalent of “martial law,” says the Miami-Dade County Independent Review Panel. In some cases, police reacted with an “unrestrained and disproportionate use of force” and “civil rights were trampled,” the panel said, according to the Miami Herald. The panel concluded that its members “strenuously condemn and deplore the unrestrained and disproportionate use of force.”
Jorge Reynardus, panel chairman, said the strong language in the draft report is a global comment on all police activity during the conference. More than 35 agencies policed the protests. He said, “You can argue with people’s perceptions, but the video is what the video is. It showed indiscriminate use of force against nonviolent protesters.” Police have said their judgment was sound and a show of force was necessary to prevent a repeat of turbulent 1999 trade talks in Seattle, where protesters caused millions of dollars’ worth of property damage. The final Miami report is expected in July.