The Miami-Dade chapter of the NAACP is calling for the resignation of Police Chief Richard Clements and City Manager Jimmy Morales after a series of incidents in which cops under in their department brutalized young Black people celebrating their spring breaks in the city.
The Miami New Times reports that "officers were recorded firing pepper-ball bullets into a crowd of mostly Black partygoers as a large team of cops violently arrested a Black beachgoer. One officer stuck a knee into the man's head as he was pinned to the ground. At the end of the clip, a cop fired a pepper-ball gun into the foot of another Black visitor. In arrest reports, the officers claimed they were there to break up a fight; seven men wound up arrested on charges of obstructing officers without violence."
In a second clip from the same incident, "a large, muscular male Miami Beach officer hip-checked a woman into the ground, smacked her head repeatedly against the asphalt, and pinned her down by placing his hand around her neck. Police say the woman had punched a cop car first."
On Friday night around 8pm local time on Ocean Drive, the situation escalated even further. According to reports, cops shot a man after allegedly noticing a gun in his waistband. The man is reportedly in stable condition, but the incident "sparked a stampede as patrons sprinted away from the sound of gunshots," according to the New Times.
The Miami Beach Police Department reportedly has a history of targeting Black people, both residents and visitors. But the latest incidents have pushed local leaders and activists to demand accountability.
In an Instagram post titled "We've Had Enough," the chapter asks for the resignation of Clements and Morales, as well as the establishment of a civilian oversight panel and a new training program for officers. "We told the City of Miami Beach to put an end to the maltreatment of Black people and to stop the use of excessive force, last Friday. They didn't listen. Now, it's time we show the City of Miami Beach, we've had enough. It's time for collective action," the caption reads:
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We told the City of Miami Beach to put an end to the maltreatment of Black people and to stop the use of excessive force, last Friday. . . . They didn't listen. . . . Now, it's time we show the City of Miami Beach, we've had enough. It's time for collective action. ✊🏿✊🏿 . . . Join in. Let's make changes together. Take part in the six step call to action. See flyer on ways to do so. . . . @themiamitimes @southfloridatimes @billycorben @theshaderoom @cbsmiami @thejilltraceyshow @robruban @supacindy @wsvn @daniella4change @blackaffairsadvisoryboard @sonnyredd1911 @dwightbullard_ @troubleman31 @shaunking #enough No more #policebrutality #MiamiDadeNAACP @miamibeachnews @miamibeachpd @changedotorg #SpringBreak2020 Time for change #MiamiBeach #WhenWeFightWeWin #WeAreTheNAACP
Neither Morales nor spokespeople for the city and police department has responded to requests for comment.
Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images