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Miami Gardens Police Chief Retires As NAACP Calls For Investigation Into Department

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(Source: CBS4)

(Source: CBS4)

Lauren-Pastrana-600x450 Lauren Pastrana
Lauren Pastrana joined CBS Miami in April 2012 as a reporter. ...
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South Florida Crime

MIAMI GARDENS (CBSMiami) – Miami Gardens Police Chief Matthew Boyd started his retirement a few weeks earlier than anticipated Wednesday, just two weeks after a federal civil rights lawsuit was filed against the city alleging officers are profiling and harassing residents.

Boyd was supposed to officially step down in January, according to City Manager Cameron Benson.

“He just felt in the best interest of the department and moving forward the department it would be a better idea for him to leave a little earlier,” Benson told CBS4′s Lauren Pastrana.

Deputy Chief Paul Miller was named Interim Police Chief.

“We wish him well and it is our loss,” Miller said of his predecessor.

While Miller would not answer questions about the pending litigation, he did acknowledge the suit in his first public comments after his appointment.

“We’re going to be very transparent in our process,” Miller said. “These allegations have not been made against the entire police dept. There have been a few officers named in this. So I would caution that we’re not saying that the entire department is in jeopardy.”

Alex Saleh, the owner of the 207 Quickstop in Miami Garden, claims videos captured at his store show officers stopping, questioning and arresting his employees and customers for no reason.

At the first council meeting since the suit was filed, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara Jordan addressed city leaders.

“I was furious,” she said about when she first learned of the allegations.

Her district includes Miami Gardens.

“Complaints received by my office about racial profiling continue to grow,” Jordan said. “Such beliefs, whether real or imagined, create distrust and the poor perception of the city that is 80 percent black and served by a police force that is 60  percent white and hispanic.”

Others who spoke during public comment said the police department’s zero tolerance policy on crime is working.

“Anytime I call an officer, they’re not just concerned with what happened then, they’re always calling back a week later following up,” Charlene Marshall said. Marshall is a property manager at an apartment complex in Miami Gardens. She said crime has dropped by 30% in her community since police started enforcing the zero-tolerance rules.

Mayor Oliver Gilbert declined to speak about the lawsuit, instead opting to focus on the positives, like a $6 million health care grant just awarded to the city by Health Foundation of South Florida.

He ended the meeting by emphasizing his commitment to finding solutions for Miami Gardens.

“We’re going to continue to do the business of the people of Miami Gardens,” he said.

Earlier this week, the NAACP Florida State Conference along with the Miami-Dade branch asked the Department of Justice to consider launching an impartial investigation.

The city manager did not set a timetable for finding a new police chief.

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