Mayor Wants Feds to Investigate Miami PD

Regalado asks U.S. Department of Justice to probe string of shootings

By Brian Hamacher
|  Thursday, Aug 4, 2011  |  Updated 7:46 AM EDT
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City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado (L) listens as police Chief Miguel A. Exposito speaks during a press conference.

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Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado is turning up the heat on his own police force, asking the U.S. department of Justice to launch an investigation into the department.

In a letter sent to Attorney General Eric Holder Wednesday, Regalado said he wants officials to look into the seven police involved shootings of black men which have all happened under the watch of Miami Police Chief Miguel Exposito.

"In light of the growing concern in the community regarding police practices and police accountability, I have concluded that an external investigation by DOJ would provide the resources, expertise and independence to begin to transform the department and assuage police-community tensions," Regalado wrote in the letter, obtained by the Miami Herald.

Regalado wrote that he was concerned about the "pattern" of shootings and the "apparent lack of response" from police to questions from the community.

Exposito said he "welcomed any federal probe into our police department," adding, "I have invited the FBI to be present at the post-shooting reviews conducted under my watch, since our first shooting back in July 2010."

Of the seven shootings, all but one is still being investigated by the State Attorney's Office and police.

Though Regalado had handpicked Exposito for the job, the mayor and the city's top cop have been at odds for over a year now over various issues.

Regalado's request comes several months after similar requests from groups like the ACLU and NAACP, as well as individuals like U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson and Reverend Al Sharpton.

When asked why he was demanding an investigation now, Regalado said he's following Wilson's lead.

"I think it’s necessary. I think four eyes are better than two eyes," he told the Herald. "The federal government has the resources, expertise and independence to assist the city of Miami in improving the MPD."

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