Recently, Miami Police Officer Reynaldo Goyos was cleared by prosecutors in Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle’s office. He shot and killed unarmed 28-year-old African-American Travis McNeil on Feb. 10, 2011.
Goyo’s attorney Bill Matthewson stated the reason murder charges were not being filed was because the shooting was “legally justified and lawful.” McNeil’s cousin, Kareem Williams, 30, a passenger in the car, was also shot but survived. There has been no word on whether his shooting was “legally justified and lawful.”
It has been a good year for Miami police. They have killed five unarmed blacks so far. One of them was naked Rudy Eugene. His shooting received national attention because he was reportedly seen chewing on another man’s face.
But if you are Travis McNeil and you’re not committing a crime and you get pulled over by Miami police in unmarked cars, what do you do? You could sit in your car and wait to see why you’re being stopped but that won’t save your life. An officer could show up at your car window and shoot you dead. Then, when State Attorney Rundle’s office investigates, they will side with the officer who says that he thought you were reaching for something. It doesn’t have to be true. Besides, you won’t be alive to defend yourself.
After the investigation, it turns out that you weren’t reaching for something. There were no weapons, no drugs and no crime. So, what is the penalty for shooting unarmed black men by mistake? The penalty is no punishment but freedom and praise.
Some of the excuses for shooting and killing more than 12 black men in the last three years aren’t even extraordinary. The reasons are: “I thought he was reaching for something,” or, “He didn’t follow my instructions,” or, “He was using his (parked) car as a weapon.”
The victims’ families must seek federal assistance. The Department of Justice is already investigating the Miami Police Department in this matter but it hasn’t stopped Miami police from killing more African-American males this year.
Young black men must change their behavior. Sitting in your car waiting to be shot by police is not an option. On May 12, Miami police shot and killed an unarmed black man who ran. So, running doesn’t work either. What options do you have? If you’re black and a Miami police officer has his weapon drawn, you’re a dead man.
Working for the Miami police must be a really good job. If you have racial hatred towards blacks, you can shoot as many as you want. You can say that you were doing it in self-defense and the state attorney’s office will back you up.
Just like the good ole days of Florida’s Klu Klux Klan. Welcome to Miami justice, Latin American style.
John Dudley is a local model, actor and freelance writer living in Miami Beach. He may be reached at Mrinvestor2u2002@yahoo.com