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Summer of Police Shootings Can’t End Well

August 21, 2010 By Matt Meltzer in  | 6 Comments


I’m starting to think we’re about due for a large-scale riot.

Let’s just throw out for a minute that it’s been a brutally hot and rain-deprived summer. And that the economy here is as bad as anywhere in the country not called Detroit, and we apparently have the worst job market to boot. Let’s just forget about those things that make people generally pissed off in Miami and focus for a minute on something that has gotten surprisingly little press: This summer’s rash of fatal police shootings.



It’s been three in the last seven weeks, people. THREE. That’s a citizen getting killed by law enforcement once every 2 weeks. Which is high, even for a large city like Miami.

Now I’m certainly not saying these shootings were not justified. The most recent involved a man in Little Haiti who started firing on police when they responded to a domestic dispute. The one before it involved a 16-year-old who pointed a gun at an undercover cop posing as a Chinese food delivery driver. And when the guy delivering my Chicken LoMein is fearing for his life when he’s making deliveries, drastic action must be taken.



But what about DeCarlos Moore? Haven’t heard of him? Mr. Moore, who- as many people in Overtown are - was Black, was driving a Honda Accord in Overtown back in July when police ran his plates and his car came back as “Possibly Stolen.” Not “Definitely Stolen.” Not “This is clearly not his car.” No, “Possibly, maybe,-if-this-car-was-blue-and-the-license-plate-was-two-numbers-different Stolen.” But I guess since the crack trade is not what it once was in Overtown, the cops needed something to do.

So they pull Moore over, and the guy gets out of the car walking towards the police. They tell him to put his hands on the vehicle, but instead he heads back towards the car and reaches in. And comes out brandishing that most fearsome of killing tools, a roll of aluminum foil. And unless DeCarlos’ real last name was MacGyver, I’m not sure what kind of damage these cops felt he could do with a roll of aluminum foil. No matter, Officer Joseph Marin felt it a good time to put a slug in Mr. Moore, and as such the civilian died on the scene.



Police shootings are complicated matters, and I’m not gonna sit here and rip the cops who have a harder job than any of us could ever imagine. But I am going to say that this sounds eerily familiar. Remember that one time, in the 80s, when some cops stopped an unarmed Black guy and then proceeded to kill him for no apparent reason? I’ll give you a hint; it was the last large-scale race riot on the East Coast, and we wrote an article on it here. Arthur MacDuffie. And if you haven’t learned about this little piece of Miami history, you are doomed to repeat it.


The people are pissed. And if Marin is acquitted, you may not want to leave your houses for a few days. The subsequent attempted violence on Police after the DeCarlos Moore incident is evidence that the people are not happy with the police. And when you combine this boiling resentment and anger with a clearing of a cop who shot an unarmed Black man, that, my friends, is a recipe for civil destruction. Throw in the heat and anger over a bad economy, and all the LeBron James signings in the world won’t appease the local population. I’d just make sure you plan a vacation for the week MPD announced the findings of its investigation.

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About the Author: Matt Meltzer is a featured columnist at Miami Beach 411.

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6 Comments on

"Summer of Police Shootings Can’t End Well"

Miami Herald says:

Perhaps America should follow the lead of other countries where guns are nearby impossible to get hold of.  In the UK the police are not even armed, and civilians pretty much cannot get their hands on a gun.  There are etremely strict licensing laws on guns and even then it is only possible to get sporting weapons.

There is some good news going on!  The Miami Herald today talks about ‘whats next for the economy’ and whilst it’s not indicating a sudden upswing of business, the signs definitely seem to be pointing to at least some form of recovery.  Let’s hope so!

Posted on 08/22/2010 at 1:41 AM

Matt Meltzer says:

I’m not sure it’s as easy as gun control, though. Canada has the same laws we do, yet they lag waaaay behind in homicide rates. the problem goes way deeper than banning firearms. Plus. there’s that whole second amendment thing.

Posted on 08/24/2010 at 3:30 PM

Erika Perez says:

I agree with the banning of guns. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. It is becoming really easy to get a liscence to bare arms. I believe only people that should have them are the military. Even cops shoot innocent people, I believe we should change the second amendment and go with the laws of the UK. I was born an American and I have always believed not just anyone should own a gun. Give the cops a taser or pepper spray but we should really stop the deaths of many innocent lives.

Posted on 08/24/2010 at 3:53 PM

Monticello says:

Ah?, difficult problem, and it seems that everytime the 2nd ammendment pops up there are a lot of people for banning such contreversial but needed ammendment. Having lived in a country were fire arms were banned by the goverment and later on basic human rights were taken from the people, my questios are; who is going to protect you against the goverment? Is your security more important than your liberty? Always remember, “They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.” (BJ)

Posted on 08/29/2010 at 9:14 PM

Mike M. says:

There are I think 2 issues: 1. one is that our “war on drugs” has increased the profit in the drug trade, that profit has increased violence, and that violence has put police on edge. We can expect more police murders as a result.

2. If an officer uses his gun (and definitely if he/she kills one of his employers—taxpayers are his employers), he/she should be fired. Maybe not criminally prosecuted—all should go to trial to publicly verify their innocence—but definitely fired.

Posted on 09/02/2010 at 11:17 PM

Matt Meltzer says:

Well, what if it’s a self-defnese killing? Or to save somebody else? You don’t want cops fearing for their jobs every time they feel they have to pull a gun. Criminals will know that that is the policy, and probably be much mre agressive. I don’t agree.

Posted on 09/06/2010 at 12:56 PM

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