The 1980 race riots in Miami’s Liberty City and Overtown neighborhoods was sparked after the acquittal of four White Miami-Dade police officers who beat a Black motorcyclist to death then attempted to hide the crime. On May 17, 1980, the mostly-Black neighborhood erupted in violence after an all-white, all-male Tampa jury didn’t find sufficient evidence to convict the cops.
The incident that sparked the rioting occurred on December 17, 1979 when Arthur McDuffie, a U.S. Marine veteran and businessman, was riding his Kawasaki motorcycle through the neighborhood. The Miami-Dade officers gave chase claiming McDuffie was going 80-plus miles per hour. Officers said after McDuffie lost control of his bike he sped off on foot. According to the officers’ initial reports, McDuffie was involved in a scuffle with the cops with a reported six to eight officers present at the scene.
Later testimony by Officer Charles Veverka revealed that the cops struck McDuffie with nightclubs and their fists until he lay still. Veverka also said that one of the cops ran over McDuffie’s bike with their car to make it appear he had a bad wreck. Another officer, William Hanlon, claims he was the cop who choked McDuffie to the ground while officer Alex Marrero struck him with a heavy-duty flashlight.
The cops who testified in exchange for immunity were given lesser charges, save for Hanlon, who says he was the cop who ran over the motorbike. Mark Meier, another officer who testified against the defendants in the Tampa trial, said that McDuffie actually surrendered at one point. Two other officers, Herbert Evans, Jr. and Ubaldo Del Toro, were charged as accessories to the crime but both walked as well. On May 8, the judge in the case acquitted Del Toro and said that state prosecutors failed to make a case despite the testimonies.
On May 17, the jury acquitted the remaining cops, leading to the riots. Liberty City residents began rioting and burning cars, while reportedly attacking whites in the street. Gov. Bob Graham called in the National Guard. In three days of rioting, 17 were reported dead and over 1,000 arrested. The area was declared a disaster zone. Then President Jimmy Carter came to Miami and asked the community to quell the tension and take action before he would approve much needed federal assistance.
Already frustrated by the lack of support given to the African-American community in favor of Haitian and Cuban immigrants, community leaders saw Carter’s plea as an affront. Historians point to the existing state of race tensions in the area as part of the reason the riots happened. Nearly $100 million in damages was reported in the Overtown neighborhood and across Miami.
Eula McDuffie, the victim’s mother, would not get the justice her son deserved. She was quoted as saying that the cops beat her son to death “like a dog,” which was picked up by local media outlets. The McDuffie family brought a $25 million civil lawsuit against the city, but settled for $1.1 million with nearly half going to attorneys and the rest split between McDuffie’s two children and his mother.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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