How much is a black man’s life worth?

If you ask some members of the Miami City Commission, you may very well hear the answer: not much.


The protracted debate that took place this week over the fate of Police Chief Miguel Exposito made that clear.

Miami police officers – mainly Hispanics – shot and killed seven young black men over a seven-month period over the past year in rather questionable circumstances. But the City Commission did not hold a meeting or order a special inquiry into the killings.

Chief Exposito was allowed to get by with vague answers and half-hearted attempts to placate the families of the victims.

But now he is out of office, fired on a 3-2 vote by the commission – not because of anything having to do with the black men who were gunned down by his officers but for insubordination – for going against the orders of the city manager in a squabble over a handful of senior officers – and over a long-running feud with Mayor Tomas Regalado over video gambling in shops in Little Havana.

So, yes, you may very well hear, if you ask some commissioners what is the worth of a black man’s life, that it is far down there, below at least insubordination and gaming machines.