Unless something is happening that we have not heard about, there is no excuse for why Miami Police Chief Miguel Exposito is still on the job.
There is no indication that any sort of investigation is taking place or has taken place. The chief and his superiors at City Hall appear to be dealing with this matter as if it were a state secret. The community has not been told if anything is happening and in the absence of an explanation it is justifiable to assume the chief and his superiors are hoping that the outrage will dissipate with time. It will not.
It was left for Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., to write to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to ask for a federal investigation. Rep. Wilson is saying only the federal government has the resources and independence to give “close, objective scrutiny” to the deaths. That may be so but this is a matter that the local authorities should have been probing for months now and keeping the community informed.
So far the community has been satisfied with calling for steps to be taken to show that there is not really a campaign going on to kill black men. But the community’s patience is obviously running out. The Rev. Dr. Billy W.L. Strange, speaking at a rally which his church, Mount Calvary Baptist Church, hosted on Sunday, did not mince words. The meeting was taking place, Rev. Strange told the gathering, because “we are sick and tired of burying our brothers, fathers, sons and nephews.”
“We will not tolerate it anymore,” he said. “Not every black man is a suspect. We cannot continue to have insensitive police officers who do not understand our culture, policing our community.”
What is emerging from such rallies is a clear set of demands – that Chief Exposito be fired, that the tactical unit be dismantled, that an investigation be conducted into the shootings and prosecutions take place where appropriate – and that greater emphasis be placed on community policing.
In light of what has been happening, those are wholly reasonable demands. City Hall would do well to pay heed.