Thursday, December 13, 2007

Killer cops back on the street

In the midst of what Miami-Dade police cynically call an
"investigation" into whether cops unlawfully shot and killed two men
and injured one woman, those same two cops are back on the street
where they can shoot even more unarmed people in cars- and they did.

On November 12, 2007 Officers Michael Mendez and Ryan Robinson killed
Frisco Blackwood and Michael Knight, and injured a female passenger,
in a barrage of bullets targeting the SUV in which they sat. Less than
30 days later, the pair was at it again, this time shooting, but
fortunately not killing, Robert De Armas, who was in a car as well, on
23rd St. and NW 18th Ave.

This means that two police officers, under an ongoing investigation
ostensibly designed to determine if they murdered two civilians, were
allowed back on patrol, this time under the auspices of an aggressive
police program, the RID, commonly known as the "jumpouts."

The development is disturb ing on many levels, none so more than this:
Miami-Dade blatantly disregards community will, outrage and the
possible wrongdoing by officers in the line of duty. Top brass
continues blind support of cops who commit wrongdoings under the color
of law, as the Black community continues to bury young men killed at
the hands of police.

The community is outraged and hurt by the rash of police shootings and
the police responds by putting the cops at whom the outrage is
directed back on the streets in our community. During an ongoing
investigation of wrongdoing.

The harsh truth is that there is no credible investigation of any of
the deaths at the hands of police being conducted either by Miami-Dade
police or the State Attorney's office. They are not investigating
Christopher Villano, the cop who killed BG Beaugris in North Miami.
Nor the cops who tased, kicked, beat and hogtied Roger Brown prior to
his death. And, obviously, there is no serious investigation of
Michael Mendez and Ryan Robinson, together shooting at Michael Knight
and Frisco Blackwood over 20 times.

It appears as if when a cop is involved in the shooting of unarmed
Black people, a shooting invoking controversy and outrage in the
broader community, Miami-Dade police take those cops off of uniformed
duty and place them, instead, on undercover duty, as "jumpouts," in a
Black or Latino community, from where they can shoot, and possibly
kill more Blacks and other people of color.

The Black and broader community must understand that when the police
say they are conducting a thorough investigation of their own, they
are lying. There is no good faith investigation or even intent to
conduct a thorough investigation. Now it is evident that there is not
even an attempt to pretend as if there is an ongoing investigation.

Equally as important, after police complete an "investigation" of
other police and clear them of all wrongdoing, they are lying.

We are not children and have no interest in being humored or
patronized. The police regularly lie to us about fair and thorough
investigations, and that practice must stop. Instead of lying before
the community and the media about intentions to conduct an
"investigation," the police should simply state the truth: police are
allowed to shoot Black people virtually at will, and, therefore, there
is no need for an investigation.

This honesty will improve police-community relations as the community
realizes the police are no longer lying to us. In addition, the move
will save countless administrative hours and money currently wasted on
fake investigations and meaningless reports on behalf of the police
and the state attorney's office.

In the mean time, there is a fundamental unfairness in forcing members
of the Black community to pay taxes for a police force unwilling to
adhere to our demands and cries. The fundamental power relationship
between the police and the community is askew. The Black community
must, therefore, develop alternate means of securing our communities,
including against out of control police forces with no respect for our


Max Rameau
a project of the Center for Pan-African Development


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