MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Within hours of the release of a damning report about Miami Police’s use of deadly force in shootings, politicians, Miami Police, and the Fraternal Order of Police started to weigh in.
Mayor Tomas Regalado said that in the coming weeks, the city will enter into a court-approved agreement with the Department of Justice.
“That means the city has to follow to the letter those protocols,” the Mayor told CBS4’s Brian Andrews.
“We will be punished if we don’t follow the terms of the agreement,” he said.
DOJ probed 33 shootings from 2008 to 2011, finding several to be unjustified, not just the 3 ruled unjustified by Miami Police. Click here to read more about the Department of Justice investigation.
The list includes the 2011 shooting of Travis McNeil.
His mother Sheila told CBS4 the DOJ report comes “too little, too late” for her son.
“We need to weed out those officers who don’t follow policy and procedures and take it on themselves to be judge, jury, and executioner,” she said.
The feds said there was a pattern or practice of excessive force by Miami Police Officers fueled by poor training and supervision, a lack of accountability, and poor decision making during the year’s the Department was run by Chief John Timoney and later by Chief Miguel Exposito.
Exposito, reached by phone, told CBS4 he offered to give a statement to DOJ investigators handling the probe, but was never contacted.
“I almost got the impression that this report was put out hastily because they were getting a lot of pressure from a local Congresswoman,” said Exposito, referring to Representative Frederica Wilson.
Wilson released a response Tuesday night which read: “Today’s report is a step forward. The Justice Department confirmed that the Miami Police Department engaged in a pattern of excessive use of force between 2008 and 2011. Mayor Regalado and Chief Orosa have moved forward with the implementation of new procedures. But we must be mindful of the fact that change happens slowly—it will take time to transform the culture that gave rise to these instances of injustice. Unless we take on the underlying causes of these acts, problems will persist regardless of leadership. While it saddens me that the Miami Police Department has required two federal investigations in a period of 12 years, I am heartened that the outcome of the investigation will mean federal oversight of police operations and practices by a federal judge to ensure the execution and enforcement of remedies. This court-enforced intervention is rare, but I believe it will help to create meaningful change.”
FOP President Javier Ortiz says the DOJ report is off mark.
“The report makes it sound like we suit up each day to go out and shoot people and that’s just not true,” he said.
“When you look at each case, its clear those shootings were justified.”
Other South Florida leaders have weighed in on the Department of Justice investigation.
In a statement, Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa said in part, “We are thankful to the D.O.J. for their acknowledgment, in writing, of a significant decrease in police-involved shootings in 2012. Success in this area comes as a result of reforms established under my direction. The D.O.J.’s findings have reached us one year after the Miami Police Department’s efforts to address all concerns regarding the shootings via a comprehensive report to D.O.J. highlighting numerous corrective actions taken by Chief Manuel Orosa and his administration. Our report indicated the agency’s course of action to both investigate the shootings thoroughly and establish practices aimed at preventing their repetition.
The Miami Police Department welcomes this long-awaited response and looks forward to the opportunity to clarify several components of the letter, as well as to labor intensely to negotiate an agreement with the Department of Justice, as promptly as possible. While I understand the importance this matter has to our community, please consider this statement my sole comment at the current time until such agreement is reached between the Miami Police Department and the D.O.J.”
The Fraternal Order of Police took issue with the city’s budget cuts and other issues and said in a statement: “The City of Miami Police Department will not be able to provide the proper support to their existing workforce on the tactical and training deficiencies the U.S. Department of Justice has concerns over because we won’t have the staffing for the street while these officers are in training. We will also not be able to have the proper amount of supervisors overseeing patrol operations due to the lack of police officers that won’t be able to get promoted, due to staffing shortages. You can’t promote cops to a supervisory position when there is no one to replace him/her.”