Family Of Man Killed By Officers Awaits Answers
Updated On: Feb 15 2011 06:19:20 AM EST
Nearly a week has passed since Miami police officers shot two men, killing one, and the Miami Police Department has yet to release any information on the incident.
Family members sad Travis McNeil, 27, and his cousin, whom they identified as Kareem Williams, 30, had just left a club in Little Haiti on Thursday night when a group of undercover officers stopped them at North Miami Avenue and 75th Street.
According to Miami police, it was a traffic stop conducted by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement task force. A Miami police officer working with the task force opened fire following what Miami police described as a "confrontation."
McNeil was killed. Williams was shot three times and was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital in stable condition.
The family and the community are waiting on answers from the police department as to what happened.
"All I want are answers," McNeil's mother, Sheila McNeil, said. "The thing that hurts most is that I have yet to be officially notified that my child was even shot."
"You can't tell someone's family, 'Oh, we can't tell you anything. Everything is under investigation,'" said Ronick Robinson, McNeil's brother. "Tell us something. We just want to know something."
"Our rate of killings by police shootings is in the order of 20 times greater than in the city of New York," said Brad Brown, of the NAACP.
Local 10 has received no answers from Miami Police Chief Miguel Exposito, although it has tried for days. Local 10 has asked questions including whether McNeil or Williams was armed at the time of the shootings.
"The city of Miami keeps killing people. Why is it just the city of Miami?" Robinson said.
The ACLU and the NAACP have joined the call for a federal investigation in the Miami's seven police-involved shootings during Exposito's 1½-year tenure. All the shootings occurred in inner city neighborhoods, all those who were shot were black men, and the shootings happened after two years of no officer-involved shootings under the previous administration.
"When our citizens come and say, 'We want you to help us with crime,' they interpret that to mean, 'Shoot black men in the street,'" said Bishop Victor Curry, of the NAACP.
Some question whether a tone from the top of the department allows those who protect and serve to point and shoot too easily.
"There are certain members of this community that want to see this community up in flames," said Brian Dennis, of Brothers of the Same Mind. "This community cannot afford anything other than economic development."
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