Miami Police Chief Defends Record, While More Horrific Footage Surfaces

The department's on the defensive after a scathing new report details a shocking record of violence and misconduct.

By Channing Kennedy Jun 09, 2011

Miami Police Chief Miguel Exposito is having to answer to a new report, which examines his department’s record on violence, misconduct, and use of deadly force. Exposito says that his department has acted properly, despite the fatal shootings of seven black men in as many months in 2010, with few details made public.

Exposito’s response to the report has come under criticism from the chair of the department’s citizen review board, Thomas Rebull. Among other things, Rebull points out that the reason the number of shootings appears to have stayed level from 2009 to 2010 — from the previous term to Exposito’s — is because Exposito tweaked the 2009 number to include shot dogs.

But the report itself, weighing in at five pages and $20,000 of taxpayer money, has come under fire as well — for costing too much and revealing too little to a city hurting for accountability. Crime reporter Fred Grimm points out the omissions at the Miami Herald:

If Philips couldn’t think of any antidotes for MPD, he should have at least given us some anecdotes.

His material, after all, was extraordinary. Miami police offers have fired their guns 19 times, killing 11 men since 2009 under the regimes of Exposito and his predecessor John Timoney. One Miami officer was involved in two fatal shootings in just nine days last summer, four months before he was caught in a federal sting. All Philip could think of saying, in a monument to the obvious, was, "Some opined that the multiple shootings and the fact that he was later arrested on an unrelated federal theft charge may call into question the adequacy of his initial pre-employment screening."

Philip could have added pages to his report quoting the snippy emails exchanges between Exposito and Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle. Or recounting the nasty public tussles between Exposito and Mayor Tomás Regalado over the department’s seizure of hundreds of video gambling machine, when Exposito accused Regalado of trying to stop his department from stomping out the gaming devices that had become as ubiquitous as pinball machines in Little Havana stores and cafes.

Meanwhile City Commissioner Richard Dunn has picked his own feud with the chief over the string of fatal shootings. And then there was the notion to create a reality show built around a fanciful version of a gun-slinging, super-macho Miami Police Department.

Meanwhile in neighboring Miami Beach, new footage of the Memorial Day police shootout continues to surface, despite the police’s onsite initiative to arrest onlookers and to smash cell phones and news cameras. Watch the clip above to the end; at the 1:58 mark, a police officer points his gun at the amateur videographer at nearly point-blank range. And, yes, some community activists are still insisting that the black tourists with money to spend are the real problem, since they’re the ones who keep showing up.