Miami Gardens Sued For Federal Civil Rights Violations
Friday, a 144 page lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court alleging a long history of police abuse and racial profiling in the northern suburb of Miami. Allegations include aggressive police tactic, including stop and frisk, and arbitrary arrests, targeting African-Americans.
The lawsuit is led by Ali Amin Saleh, the owner of a convenience store in Miami Gardens. Videos have been previously released showing the police harassing customers at Saleh’s store and there are also reports of one of his employees being arrested numerous times for trespassing while at work. Blackbutterfly7 previously reported on this matter.
Plaintiffs are represented by the Reyes Law Group.
“Over the course of approximately five years, spanning from 2008 to 2013, Mr. Saleh’s Quick Stop was unlawfully searched without reasonable suspicion or arguable probable cause, numerous times by MGPD (Miami Gardens Police Department) officers,” the complaint says.
The lawsuit also alleges, “The constitutional abuses are a result of either unconstitutional policies, or policies that, while constitutional on their face, are implemented in such a way that violate constitutionally protected rights. Additionally, all constitutional abuses have occurred under the color of authority by MGPD officers.”
“In addition, MGPD officers have engaged in a policy, practice and/or custom of stopping-and-frisking, searching, seizing, and arresting patrons of his Quick Stop while they are on the premises for loitering or trespassing,” it added.
The complaint said the arrests and searches at the convenience store came despite repeated protests from Saleh, who told police the “suspects” targeted on his property had his full permission and authority to be there.
The lawsuit sets forth polices requiring officers to issue a specific amount of citations, field contact reports, and arrests per month, rewards for police officers meeting quotas, and reprimands when not.
The complaint seeks unspecified punitive and compensatory damages in addition to injunctive relief.
Among the named defendants are Mayor Oliver G. Gilbert III, Former Mayor Shirley Gibson, City Manager Danny O. Crew, Chief of Police Mathew Boyd, Deputy Chief Paul Miller, and Captain Gary Smith.