If you’re a black man driving through Florida, steer clear of Miami Gardens. Lawyers call it the stop- and-frisk capital of America.
And they’re probably right.
Between 2008 and 2013, Miami Gardens police officers questioned an astounding 56,922 people who were not arrested. There were 99,980 total stops that did not lead to arrests, and 250 individuals were stopped more than 20 times, according to the TV network Fusion, which exposed racist “stop and frisk” tactics by the Miami Gardens Police Department during its six-month investigation.
The irony of this is that Miami Gardens, a suburb about a half-hour drive from Miami is a brand new city that was incorporated in 2003 to unite the mostly Black and Caribbean populations of various regions in the vicinity. It’s only on its second mayor.
In the city of 110,000 residents that has the largest Black population of any in Florida, police have stopped 8,489 kids and 1,775 senior citizens – one of whom was 99 years old. One Miami Gardens police officer told Fusion that his supervisor ordered him to stop all black males between the ages of 15 and 30.That racially-charged command led to one black man being stopped more than 250 times for no apparent reason.
But apparently Miami Gardens police officers target black folks regardless of age. Officers once wrote a report identifying a five-year-old child as a ‘suspicious person,’ ”according to Fusion.
A five-year-old child?
“The result is that you have a majority black population that are all being subjected to very heavy-handed police tactics that result in a public record being created either of them being stopped or them being arrested,” Miami Dade Public Defender Carlos Martinez told Fusion. “I don’t know anywhere else in the country where that’s happening.”