A new report about the aggressive policing in Miami Gardens, Florida describes the small community as a racist police state where innocent citizens from 5 to 99 years old are deemed suspects by local law enforcement.
According to Fusion, 56,922 people were stopped and questioned by the Miami Gardens Police Department (MGPD) between 2008 and 2013. However, none were arrested. Counting the citizens who were arrested, the number balloons up to 65,328, which is more than half the city.
"I have never seen a police department that has taken the approach that every citizen in that city is a suspect," Miami-Dade County Public Defender Carlos Martinez told Fusion. "I’ve described it as New York City stop-and-frisk on steroids."
Two unidentified MGPD officers told Fusion that their superiors told them to "bring in the numbers" and stop all black males between 15 and 30 years of age.
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In 2010, an 11-year-old black boy was stopped and questioned by police because he was "wearing gray sweatpants, a red hoodie and black gloves,” according to the police report. Officers claimed the clothing was "just cause” to question this "suspicious person.”
His suspicious activity? Going to football practice.
A 99-year-old man near a retirement home was labeled "suspicious" by police, who also filed a report on a five-year-old child as a "suspicious person.”
Even people who were locked up in jail were claimed to have been stopped and questioned on the street by police.
In December 2013, Miami Gardens Police Chief Matthew Boyd resigned because of claims that his police officers had committed harassment, intimidation and civil rights violations.
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“The Miami Gardens community deserves a police department that is committed to stopping crime and preserving justice,” Adora Obi Nweze, president of the Florida NAACP, told the Miami Herald at the time. “This is a good first step toward that goal, but hardly the last step. The systematic allegations of police intimidation did not happen because of just one person. They were the result of a sustained lack of oversight.”