If Florida has become the laughing stock of the country when it comes to law enforcement, then this story should come as no surprise. Miami Gardens, Florida. Ever hear of it? It's a city on the northern border of Miami. It's estimated population, as of 2011 is around 110,000. That number will be relevant in a moment.
Before that though, it's interesting to take note that the city has its own stop and frisk laws. And if you thought what was happening in New York under Bloomberg was shameful, here's the big apple on steroids.
From Fusion Network (co-owned by the Disney Corporation and Univision Communications) -- known for also owning ABC News and Univision Television comes a startling series of reports.
In the summer of 2010, a young black man was stopped and questioned by police on the streets of Miami Gardens, Florida. According to the report filled out by the officer, he was "wearing gray sweatpants, a red hoodie and black gloves” giving the police "just cause” to question him. In the report, he was labeled a "suspicious person.”
He was an 11-year-old boy on his way to football practice.
That might seem a bit "aggressive" but cops have to be vigilant for our safety.
A Fusion investigation has found that he was just one of 56,922 people who were stopped and questioned by Miami Gardens Police Department (MGPD) between 2008 and 2013. That’s the equivalent of more than half of the city’s population.
Here's the topper:
Not one of them was arrested.
Let's back up. Half of the city's population has been stopped and frisked and not one arrest?
According to a review of 99,980 "field contact” reports, they were stopped, written up and often identified as "suspicious” -- but just like the 11-year-old boy -- the encounter was recorded in a public database, and they were let go.
Fusion’s analysis of more than 30,000 pages of field contact reports, shows how aggressive and far-reaching the police actions were. Some residents were stopped, questioned and written up multiple times within minutes of each other, by different officers. Children were stopped by police in playgrounds. Officers even wrote a report identifying a five-year-old child as a "suspicious person."
Lest you think just tweens and teens are being targeted, seniors as well.
Senior citizens were stopped and questioned near their retirement home, including a 99-year-old man deemed to be "suspicious.”
What made this 99 year old suspicious other than he was still breathing on his own at that age? And God bless him, BTW.
Two officers from the MGPD told Fusion that high-ranking department officials gave them orders to "bring in the numbers” by conducting stops and arrests. One officer said he was ordered to stop all black males between 15 and 30 years of age.
What is this whole thing is about? It's an outrage. Can there be any valid defense of these actions? Here's the Miami Garden's Police Department's official justification for this program that's stopped so many and arrested so few (if you call zero being a few).
According to the current police chief, simply being in a "high crime area” may be enough reason to stop and question people. Because of the city’s high crime rate, this means virtually any person can be stopped.
If this stop and frisk program was working, then why is there a high crime area? It should have little to none -- just like their arrest reports. This is nothing more than institutional harassment and needs to be stopped. This is as blatant as civil rights infringements can get.
If you want to see for yourself how random all of this is, check out this video from Fusion.