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 (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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