The Dade county NAACP is calling for justice in light of recent police shootings of unarmed African American men. People want answers and lack of response to the shootings by black elected officials and the absence of local political leaders at a recent meeting also became a major focus.
Miami-Dade NAACP President Bishop Victor T. Curry began the meeting on the evening of Nov. 19 by dispelling accusations that he is against the police.
“I’m against police brutality and I believe 99 percent of police officers in their right minds are against police brutality,” he told the crowd of more than 50 people at the New Birth Enterprise Building at 8400 N.E. 2nd Ave. in Miami.
According to Curry, the purpose of the meeting was to determine, “What should our response be as a community?”
Curry questioned whether other communities in Miami-Dade are treated similarly by the police.
“I can guarantee you this…if in the last two months, four unarmed…men from Aventura were shot and killed by African-American police officers, don’t you think the citizens, the residents of Aventura would be meeting like this?” he said.
Michael Knight and Frisco Blackwood, both 21, were killed on Nov. 12 in Little Haiti after police stopped them for running a red light. Details of the events that led to the shootings are in dispute.
A Miami-Dade police officer shot and killed 19-year-old unarmed Haitian immigrant Gracia Beaugris on Oct. 26 after what police said was an altercation, according to published news reports.
Roger Brown, 40, died Nov. 7 after a struggle with police officers outside a tire shop in North Miami-Dade. The owner of the shop, at 1655 NW 95th St., called police just after 7 p.m. after noticing the man’s truck being driven erratically, according to The Miami Herald. Officers immobilized Brown with a stun gun. He was taken to North Shore Medical Center, where he died.
Curry, the popular pastor of the New Birth Baptist Church also took issue with the absence of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez from the meeting.
Curry insisted that the mayor, County Manager George Burgess and Police Chief Robert Parker would have attended meetings in other communities “to hear the concerns of the people.”
He added that their absences represent “just utter disrespect” for the black community.