Miami Gardens police are trying to find out who placed a sign criticizing Miami Gardens and the police force above an entrance to City Hall on Wednesday night.
The sign, spray-painted onto a large white poster board that has since been removed, said, “Welcome to Suspect City. Cops show up body counts go up. #AskUsAboutLavall.”
The message apparently refers to the recent fatal shooting of 25-year-old Lavall Hall, a mentally-ill man killed by Miami Gardens police after an incident at his mother’s home last month.
Police said that Hall had attacked officers Eddo Trimino and Peter Ehrlich with a broomstick. Former police Chief Stephen Johnson said that the officers had attempted to stop Hall with their Tasers, but the stun guns had no effect.
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As Hall approached the officers again, Trimino fired his gun five times, striking Hall twice, with one bullet to his chest.
Hall’s mother, Catherine Daniels, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city and the police department. She also has continued to ask for the release of the audio and dash-cam video of the incident.
“Give me some closure. I want closure, please,” Daniels said during Wednesday’s city council meeting.
The sign may also refer to allegations of widespread stop-and-frisk tactics used by the police department, as reported by the Miami Herald and cable network Fusion. The Herald’s reporting, in late 2013, focused on the owner and employee of the 207 Quickstop who sued the city and police department, alleging that police officers regularly harassed and profiled his employees and customers.
Miami Gardens police spokesman Michael Wright said Thursday morning that police are still investigating when the sign was placed on City Hall and by whom.
Members of the Dream Defenders, an activist group that showed up to support Daniels at the meeting, said they were not responsible for putting up the sign.
“When we saw that it kind of threw us off because you see that the community cares, too. It’s not just Dream Defenders, and it’s not just Lavall’s family,” said Isaiah Thomas, a Dream Defenders member.
“It shows that there’s a consensus of people in Miami Gardens saying that something needs to be done.”