MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – We’ve been hearing it all week in the streets. On Tuesday, the protests came to a virtual Miami-Dade committee meeting.
Technically, item 2A in the meeting of the public safety committee was a resolution expressing shock and condolence for the death of George Floyd. Protest organizers used it to rally public comments, urging hundreds to call in via Zoom and use their two minutes to speak out.
And they did.
“I demand that the Miami-Dade Police Department receive the highest budget cuts per year in order to funnel those funds into human-centered services,” one resident said.
“We need to put our money where our mouth is and move funding out of the police budget and into education, human services and public health,” another said.
“We don’t need a militarized police force, because that does not work,” yet another said.
The callers brought up demands for police reform that are now exploding into the national narrative. Miami-Dade commissioners commended this county’s police force as a model but asked the mayor for a report on its arrest, restraint and use-of-force policies to be presented within 30 days.
“It’s the bad apples that we want to get, that we want to get rid of,” Miami-Dade Commissioner Barbara Jordan said. “We want to make sure that there are policies in place that ... would hold them accountable.”
When the full commission meets, Jordan will push to revive a civilian oversight board in a different format than what the county mayor vetoed two years ago.
“Make sure that we use those police oversight boards to make sure we can have a history of what’s going on with these officers and demand action in terms of termination if needed,” said Ruban Roberts, president of the NAACP of Miami-Dade.
The push for that kind of civilian oversight board has the backing of over two dozen community organizations. The city of Miami has such a board, and the focus for those pushing for one in the county is making sure that it can force action and not just share its feedback with police.