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Prosecutors tells family son's death was justified

Lawyers have closed out four other police shootings

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MIAMI – Prosecutors have told the family of a young man killed by Miami police that they will determine his death was justified.

Travis McNeill's shooting was the last in a spate of Miami police shootings in 2010 and 2011. Prosecutors have closed out four of the cases as "justifiable shootings." In a meeting last month, McNeill's family said prosecutors told them the investigation would be closed in a matter of days.

"It wasn't a surprise, but it didn't stop the pain," Sheila McNeill, Travis' mother said. "It was like a slap in the face."

On Feb. 10, 2011, Ofc. Reynaldo Goyos was working as part of a multi-agency operation when several unmarked cars staged a traffic stop on McNeill and his cousin, who were leaving a club. McNeill, who was unarmed, never left the driver's seat when the officer fired, his family said.

McNeill was the seventh young black man fatally shot by Miami police in less than a year, shootings that racially polarized the city, contributed to the ouster of the police chief and a civil rights investigation of the department.

The evidence, interviews and basis for prosecutors' determination will be made public in a close out memo. Prior to issuing the memo, prosecutors keep the information confidential.

A spokesperson for the Miami-Dade State Attorney emailed this statement to Local10: "We made our overall decision in the investigation approximately a month ago and members of our staff met with the next of kin to let them know the findings. We did this as a matter of courtesy to the grieving family with the understanding that the findings were to remain confidential until our entire review process was completed. Since then, the case was further reviewed by approximately the half-dozen Assistant State Attorneys on the Police Shooting Review Committee. This process has resulted in revisions to the document which is not unusual. The memo is now in its final form and will be presented to the State Attorney for her final review."

About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."