Former Miami Police Chief Miguel Exposito spoke out Wednesday regarding a Department of Justice report saying the City of Miami Police Department used excessive force in police-involved shootings.
"The person who did this investigation has no knowledge of what police work is all about," Exposito said.
The report faulted the department for inadequate training, tactics and internal investigations of the shootings, but Exposito says the report doesn't give enough specifics.
"They didn't say, 'In this specific case, they didn't do this,'" Exposito said. "It was very general, and that's what I have a problem with."
According to the Justice Department, officers shot at individuals on 33 separate occasions between 2008 and 2011, and three of those shootings were found unjustified by Miami Police.
The investigation began in November 2011 following the deaths of seven black men in officer-involved shootings. The most recent probe looked at shootings that happened under the administration of former Police Chief John Timoney, and then extended into Exposito’s term. Exposito succeeded Timoney, but then was fired after a feud with the mayor in 2011.
When asked if he took exception to the D.O.J. report hinting that there was a culture of shooting first and asking questions later, he said he did.
"I hate to see the justice department, just for political expediency, come out and trash that department," Exposito said.
Exposito said the State Attorney's Office has cleared almost all of the officers involved in the shootings of any wrongdoing. He also said federal agents were involved in some of the shootings, working with Miami Police in drug and gang task force units.
"There was one shooting in particular, on 58th Street, where the federal agent took nine shots, our officers fired once," Exposito said. "Did you see that in the report? No. Why? Because that's a problem for the feds."
He also said he sent a letter to the U.S. Attorney in Miami offering to cooperate with the investigation, offering to be interviewed, but was never contacted back.
Current Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa, who succeeded Exposito in 2011, commended the investigation Tuesday in a statement and said his department is making the reforms recommended by the Department of Justice.
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