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Miami-Dade commissioners’ effort against police brutality ends with Gimenez’s veto

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez speaks during Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce roundtable on coronavirus crisis.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez speaks during Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce roundtable on coronavirus crisis. (WPLG)

MIAMI – Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced on Friday that he vetoed the commissioners’ push for a citizens’ independent review panel on Miami-Dade Police Department officers.

The majority of Miami-Dade Commissioners agreed on July 8 to allow voters to decide if the Miami-Dade Police Department needs another layer of review with an Independent Civilian Panel.

Miami-Dade registered voters were supposed to decide whether or not to establish the ICP in the charter through an amendment in the November ballot. Commissioners voted 8-5 on the ordinance introduced by Miami-Dade Commissioner Barbara J. Jordan.

Gimenez released this statement:

Today I vetoed Ordinance No. 20-65 that would establish an Independent Review Panel (IRP) with subpoena power. I also vetoed an amendment to the County’s Home Rule Charter to put before the voters the same proposal that includes the subpoena provision.

As I stated during the Board of County Commissioners meetings on July 8 and 9, I am in full support of having an Independent Review Panel to check on law enforcement procedures and ensure they are being followed. I also support having residents vote on whether the Charter should be amended to include an IRP, but, unfortunately, the amendment as written does not provide a clear exemption for County employees or elected officials from being subpoenaed.

I am hopeful the Board will reconsider Commissioner Barbara Jordan’s reworked legislation that removes the subpoena power provision for County employees and elected officials at its meeting on July 21. Regrettably, Commissioner Jordan’s move to reconsider her legislation with the subpoena exemption did not receive the votes necessary to reconsider the proposal at the July 9 carry-over Commission meeting.

Our law-enforcement officers work very hard every day to build trust with all sectors of our community. We have a number of nationally recognized community outreach programs in place, body cameras for police, layers of federal, state and local police oversight and a zero-tolerance policy for abuses — all to ensure our officers are treating everyone with the respect they deserve.

I am proud of the work the Miami-Dade Police Department is doing to continue to build the public trust, every day. We can always find ways to improve, and I welcome an IRP that helps us continue to protect our community with fair and impartial policies and practices.

I urge commissioners to approve Commissioner Jordan’s much-improved IRP proposal that prohibits County employees and elected officials from being subpoenaed.

About the Author:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.