Following Indictments of Miami Police Officers, ACLU of Florida Renews Call for Civilian Investigative Panel

September 7, 2001 12:00 am

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MIAMI – – Saying that the Miami Police Department failed to take the necessary steps to terminate bad cops and bring them to justice, the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida today renewed its call for community support for an independent civilian panel to investigate allegations of police wrongdoing.

The ACLU call followed a news conference at which the U.S. Attorney announced federal indictments against City of Miami police officers for allegedly planting weapons in an effort to justify police shootings.

“The fact that federal indictments were handed down today clearly demonstrates that the Miami Police Department is incapable of adequately policing itself,” said ACLU of Florida Executive Director Howard Simon. “It should now be clear to everyone that there is a problem with the Miami Police Department’s internal investigations process.”

The proposed civilian investigative panel will have subpoena power that can only be used after consultation with the State Attorney’s office. The panel will also have the authority to review polices of the police department and make recommendations on discipline to the City Manager and/or Police Chief.

The panel is to be composed of civilians who are nominated by the public and approved by the City Commission. It will also have one member who is a law enforcement officer – outside the City of Miami – to be appointed by the Miami Police Chief.

On August 9, the Miami City Commissioners unanimously approved the wording of an amendment to the Miami City Charter that would create a civilian investigative panel. Miami residents have an opportunity to vote on whether to create the panel and amend the charter at the November 6 general election.

“There is a crisis in the public confidence in policing,” said Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, president of the ACLU Greater Miami Chapter. “Only through adequate civilian investigation and oversight will reform within the Miami Police Department be successful. Members of this community need to take action by going to the polls and voting for a civilian investigative panel that will enable all of us to regain trust in the police.”

To read more about the ACLU of Florida’s efforts to establish an independent civilian panel go to

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