Some community activists, however, are less patient.
Last week, representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP, PULSE, the Miami Workers Center, Brothers of the Same Mind, the Haitian-American Grassroots Coalition, the Neighbors and Neighbors Association, and the Spanish American League Against Discrimination assembled at ACLU headquarters in Miami to discuss their concerns with the various investigations.
Jeanne Baker, who chairs the Miami ACLU police practices committee, said the coalition is frustrated with a number of authorities, including Justice and the city of Miami Civilian Investigative Panel.
“We are not satisfied with the response from authorities on any of the shootings,” she said. “We are looking for investigations that hold the police more accountable and look at the policies and practices that led to these issues. It’s extremely frustrating for the community to have such a long delay between when these shootings occurred and now, and still not having concluded investigations.”
The police department says it has taken its own internal steps to prevent problems.
Orosa, who was named chief after Exposito was fired in September 2011, dismantled the controversial tactical units almost immediately after taking the post. In his memo to the Justice Department, Orosa wrote that the teams had caused “unintended consequences” and “placed officers in unmanageable situations by surprising armed offenders.”
As part of his proposal, Orosa said he would create a new internal office charged with reviewing “high-liability matters,” including police shootings and high-speed car chases.
“This section will ensure that the Miami Police Department maintains a check-and-balance system for those matters in order to reach the correct conclusion and determine future needs, such as training, funding, policy changes, etc.,” he wrote.
Orosa also said he would make changes to the Firearms Review Board, which convenes each time a police officer fires his or her weapon. The board used to be chaired by the assistant chief overseeing field operations, to whom most police officers report. The board will now be chaired by the assistant chief of the administrative division to avoid possible conflicts of interest.
Additionally, Orosa plans to beef up the community relations and internal affairs departments.
Baker, of the Miami ACLU, said she had not yet seen the department’s proposal. But when a Miami Herald reporter described the document, Baker was underwhelmed.
“We’re hoping for something much bigger,” she said.
Rep. Wilson said Orosa should concentrate on making the police department look more like the community.
“If the officers were from the community, there would be more trust,” she said.
She added: “It’s extremely important for the community, for the families of the victims, to know that we’re not going to give up on seeking justice for them. Justice has to prevail.”