By Hank Tester

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A group of mothers who know the consequences of that violence all too well have a weapon of their own now. It comes in the form of a new law.

“Another child lost to this community. I am sorry I get passionate, we are all in this together,” said Miami-Dade Police Department Dir. Juan Perez.

No question the number of shootings – kids killing kids – is gang related.

The retaliations frustrate the community. There is even more frustration for police.

No one will talk, witnesses fear coming forward.

Now there is hope this will change.

“The reality is this will give extra strength to the criminal justice system,” said Rep. Kionne McGhee.

That’s the purpose of the community meeting held at a Liberty City church.

With mothers of sons and daughters killed in gang violence looking on, lawmakers outlined what’s in the state legislature’s “witness protection law” which goes into effect July 1.

In the law, witness names will be released two years after crime – similar to protection like sexual assault and child abuse victims. But witness names will be available to defendants and defense attorneys. That could be a worry for potential witnesses.

“What we are saying is the information the criminal intelligence and information that will be exempt from publication,” explained Rep. Cynthia Stafford.

So how does this get sold to witnesses worried about retaliation?

“I am just hopeful that this will bring out kids that have information,” said Perez. “That they are witnessing, are hearing about, kids killing kids where that information and they can come forward and give us a hand.”


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