Miami Gardens Police Chief Resigns Amid Convenient Store Scandal

United States Hypocrisy

Miami Gardens’s first and only police Chief, Matthew Boyd, unexpectedly resigned on December 10, 2013, one day after the NAACP called on United States Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department to conduct a review of the  Miami Gardens Police Department which Boyd resided over. While spokespeople for the Department as well as Mayor Oliver Gilbert insist that any correlation between Boyd’s resignation and the NAACP’s letter to Holder is purely coincidental, the timing is certainly noteworthy. Chief Officer Boyd was expected to announce his plans for retirement late in the month of January, 2014 – a month after he resigned.

Chief Matthew Boyd Miami Gardens

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Posted on 01/18/2014, in Potpourri and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. As a reminder: here is info about the case involving Earl Sampson at Selah’s convenience store—

    “Miami Gardens Sued Over Racial Profiling, Police Abuse”

    MIAMI, Dec 3 (Reuters) – The mayor and police department of a predominantly black Miami suburb have been hit with a federal civil rights lawsuit over allegations of aggressive police tactics, including stop-and-frisk searches and arbitrary arrests, targeting African Americans.

    The lawsuit against the city of Miami Gardens, filed on Friday in U.S. District Court, alleges a long history of police abuse and racial profiling in the crime-plagued suburb on the northern outskirts of Miami.

    The 11 plaintiffs named in the lawsuit are led by Ali Amin Saleh, a Latin American man of Middle Eastern descent who is identified as having been the owner since 1999 of a convenience store in Miami Gardens that was subjected to frequent police searches.

    “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.

    “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.

    Miami Gardens, a city of 105,000 residents that sits on the northwest edge of Miami, is 80 percent black, and was home to Trayvon Martin, the teenager shot dead near Orlando in 2012 by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, who was later acquitted of murder on the grounds of self-defense.

    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 complaint seeks unspecified punitive and compensatory damages for what it describes as “deliberate, wanton, malicious, reckless, and oppressive” police tactics in the city.

    It adds that the tactics had spawned numerous rights abuses since 2008, when police adopted a policy offering benefits and promotions for officers who met strict monthly quotas for the number of arrests and citations they issued.

    Saleh’s business suffered severely as sales fell and customers began shunning the store as a result of the police tactics, the complaint says.

    Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert III, lead defendant in the lawsuit, did not immediately return phone calls or an email from Reuters seeking comment.

    Another plaintiff in the lawsuit is identified as Earl Sampson, 28, an African-American and employee of the Quick Stop who was repeatedly stopped once a week for four years, or about 288 times, the suit says.

    On numerous occasions, it said Sampson had been arrested for trespassing while at work stocking the shelves or taking out the trash at the Quick Stop store.

    The case is Earl Sampson et al v. City of Miami Gardens et al, U.S. District Court Souther District of Florida, No. 1:13-CV-24312-DLG (Reporting by Tom Brown and David Adams; Editing by Gunna Dickson and Lisa Shumaker)


    • “How “Zero Tolerance” Policing Helped Bad Cops in Florida Create a Civil Rights Nightmare”

      How does something like this happen? Blame it on endemic racism, yes, and on bad apples in the police department—but also blame it on a short-sighted local crime-reduction policy that, in retrospect, was always, always ripe for abuse. The convenience store incidents began when police convinced the store’s owner to enroll in the department’s “Zero Tolerance Zone” program. In Miami Gardens, when a shop becomes a Zero Tolerance Zone, the owner signs an affidavit authorizing the police to enter the premises when the owner is absent and question, eject, and/or arrest all those whom they suspect of being up to no good. The website of the Miami Gardens Police Department notes that the program is “designed to reduce the number of individuals who are sometimes seen trespassing and loitering on private property without legitimate business.”

      The fact that Miami Gardens police kept arresting that one particular employee even after it was very clear that he worked at the store is baffling, and obviously indicates that more was going on here than simple overzealousness. But the alleged police misbehavior is rooted in the idea that cities can keep their streets safer by keeping poor black men off of them, and that it’s up to an individual cop’s discretion to determine what sort of behavior is and is not appropriate.

      The “Zero Tolerance Zone” initiative sounds similar to the controversial stop-and-frisk programs that have been deployed in New York and other cities, where police officers are encouraged to routinely stop and question people on slim grounds—“suspicious behavior” is a favorite excuse—in hopes of seizing guns and drugs and stopping crime before it starts. In both programs, cops have been accused of routinely exceeding their authority against people who have no real means of stopping them from doing so. Inevitably, the people being stopped and questioned are minority residents of crime-ridden areas—police have no incentive to deploy these tactics in rich white neighborhoods with minimal street crime. Inevitably, when cops are authorized to engage in this sort of proactive policing, some cops will overdo it, and trample citizens’ civil rights in the process.


  2. Miami Gardens and the insanity of ‘zero tolerance’

    The problem with zero tolerance goes much further than that. Human behavior is infinitely variable, even within broad categories like wrongdoing. Remove the ability of judges, officers or administrators on the ground to impose their judgment of the circumstances, and you end up with absurd results such as a sixth-grader expelled for bringing a squirt gun to school, the suspension of a seventh-grader from bringing a homemade rocket to science class (it was judged a “weapon”), a high school sophomore suspended for loaning a pair of nail clippers to a friend. It’s especially tragic for these episodes to occur in schools, where students should be taught the virtues of good judgment, not the dangers of robotic enforcement.


    • Xena, I had two windows open….your blog + another blog. I goofed and posted this on yours.

      Would you please erase this?


  3. Finally, now maybe this poor guy just go to work without being harassed. I never realized the Chief of Police was also a Black man.


    • Hey Mindyme!!
      It seems that some things could have been resolved before leading to the store’s owner filing a lawsuit. The failure of those in authority to resolve problems in the community sends a powerful message that they don’t care. Hopefully, the new Chief of Police (whomever that will be), will run things to eliminate profiling.


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