“Of the 17 shootings from the 2010-2011 period, only 10 have a completed investigation.”
The reported cited a fatal 2009 shooting “in which the only living witnesses are the shooting officers. More than three years after the incident, the involved officers still have not provided statements about what transpired during the shooting.”
The investigations were allowed to drag on. “These delays prevent prompt corrective action and cause possible policy, training, or equipment deficiencies to remain uncorrected for months or even years, compromising officer safety, opening MPD to potential liability, and increasing the likelihood that avoidable shootings may continue to occur.”
The findings were reminiscent of a report last year in the Miami Herald that Internal Affairs had failed to complete 50 internal affairs investigations, flouting a state law requiring investigations of possible police wrongdoing to be concluded within 180 days.
The Miami Fraternal Order of Police took issue with this latest Department of Justice report, listing one disagreement after another. But the FOP then added its own list of complaints about department policies, claiming the department suffered training deficiencies and a lack of supervisors on the street. FOP also blamed problems on low pay for Miami police officers. “You get what you pay for.”
FOP seemed to be saying that the Justice Department’s findings were erroneous — but if they weren’t, here’s a list of the reasons why.
Clearly, Police Chief Manuel Orosa, who took over the department in the fall of 2011, has worked hard to reform its culture. He has added five new officers to internal affairs and tripled the number of investigators working with an FBI anti-corruption unit.
The Justice Department report applauded Orosa’s efforts to address police shootings, which “decreased significantly in 2012 to almost half of the total for each of the preceding four years. Recent reviews also appear to be more thorough and propose remedial actions to address errant conduct.”
But the report added a cautionary note: “Given the fact that this is our second investigation of MPD within the last twelve years, and the fact that many of the deficiencies that we previously uncovered now appear to be deeply rooted, we are concerned about the sustainability of these recent changes.”
Those concerns, so familiar, seem like an echo from 2002. Or was it 1985?