By the time McNeils Kia Sorrento had reached the intersection of Northeast 75th Street and North Miami Avenue, three unmarked vehicles with flashing lights had blocked off his path. Thats when, the citys review board found, Goyos approached McNeils car on the passenger side, warning, Dont do it.
Goyos opened fire, striking Williams twice, and McNeil once in the back near his left shoulder. The bullet killed him. The only dark objects found in the car were cellphones.
The McNeil shooting was the seventh fatal shooting of young black men by Miami police officers in just eight months, a string of violence that raised tensions in inner city neighborhoods and caused a political backlash at City Hall that would ultimately cost then-Chief Miguel Exposito his job.
The other men shot and killed by police were Joell Lee Johnson, Tarnorris Tyrell Gaye, Gibson Junior Belizaire, Brandon Foster, and Lynn Weatherspoon. Weapons were found on five of the men.
In November 2011, nine months after the last shooting, the U.S. Justice Department, at the urging of local civil rights groups and U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, announced it would review the shootings and department policies. That investigation is still ongoing. The state attorneys office also investigated the shootings but concluded none of the officers had committed a crime.
The Goyos firing adds to turmoil at the department. After a relatively calm year, the police department has been rocked by scandal and corruption in recent weeks.
Internal Affairs detectives are working with the FBI in an ongoing probe of up to 10 officers suspected of providing protection to a Liberty City gambling ring. One of those officers was arrested last week on an extortion charge. Earlier this month, a former narcotics detective was convicted of eight felonies, including obstruction of justice and taking drugs and money from suspects. A second detective also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor drug charges stemming from the same investigation, and later testified against his partner, as did four detectives who worked on his team.
The string of embarrassments continued Wednesday with the arrest of a Miami police office who prosecutors charged with sexually assaulting a female suspect in his squad car.
Pastor Anthony Tate of the New Resurrection Community Church, who comforted Sheila McNeil for months after the shooting, called the Goyos firing good news.
It gives a new perspective on the city of Miami that theyre now policing their own, Tate said. It shows there is discipline and concern.
For Sheila McNeil, at home surrounded by family, the past two years have been blurry. She said she has noticed an easing of tensions in her own neighborhood since Orosa replaced Exposito.
Still, two years after her sons death, smiling is difficult, she said.
Not a day goes by when I dont think of Travis, McNeil said. My grandson is a constant reminder, he just turned 12. For a while I just wanted some justice, but at the end of the day, nothing is going to bring him back.