The latest in a series of fatal police shootings proved a tipping point for Miami City Hall yesterday. Black community leaders and a city commissioner joined the mayor in criticizing embattled Police Chief Miguel Exposito, says the Miami Herald. Exposito held a rare get-together with reporters to answer questions about the New Year’s Day shooting. He refused to discuss a private meeting with Mayor Tomas Regalado after firing off two letters in which he accused Regalado of being in bed with illegal gambling interests.
The shooting death — the sixth of a black male by Miami police since last summer — prompted an angry neighborhood rally Saturday night and increased pressure against Exposito, whose first year in office was marked by public missteps. The cascading dissatisfaction with Exposito did not lead to his ouster, as some had speculated could happen yesterday, the first day on the job for new City Manager Tony Crapp Jr. The city charter says the police chief can only be fired for cause — and only by the manager. Crapp said he needs time to meet with and evaluate Exposito before making any decisions. On Saturday, a SWAT team killed 27-year-old Lynn Weatherspoon, a convicted felon who police say pointed a weapon at police. The killing sparked concern from Miami Commissioner Richard P. Dunn II and others critical of the decision to deploy SWAT absent any tactical emergency. Dunn said he would ask for Exposito’s resignation in two weeks if changes in police command staff are not in place soon. Exposito said the SWAT team was actually a roving patrol that happened upon Weatherspoon.