Activists Demand Investigation Into Miami Police-Involved Shootings
The family of Travis McNeil held a candlelight vigil in his honor Tuesday night, five days after he was shot and killed in the city of Miami. The vigil comes after more than a half dozen shootings involving police officers, and now the ACLU has asked for an investigation into the shootings.
The McNeil relatives wanted the meeting. They also want answers.
But, perhaps most of all, they simply want to know that authorities care, that the investigation will be open and honest. And thorough.
After what they describe as a disappointing meeting with police Chief Miguel Exposito, the meeting with Fernandez Rundle, they say, is giving them new hope.
“Our meeting was more forthcoming than our meeting with Exposito, the police chief,” said Sheila McNeil, Travis’ mom.
Fernandez Rundle “reassured us that they're taking it as seriously as we are,” McNeil said. “That they're not laying down on the job. They're going to come up with some answers for us.”
It was the seventh fatal shooting involving Miami police since Chief Exposito, who drove through the crime scene that night, February 10th, took his position. But could the death of 28-year-old McNeil be the one that gets Exposito fired?
We won't know for weeks while the Miami city manager reviews Exposito’s job performance after a series of fatal shooting of young black men by Miami police.
"The family did contact me and asked if i would meet with them. And, of course, we're happy to do that,” said Fernandez Rundle just before her meeting with them. “These are very difficult circumstances."
McNeil's relatives are pushing hard for answers. They've met already with Chief Exposito who they say told them neither McNeil nor Kareem Williams, the other man in the car who survived, had a gun. The family just wants to know why police shot.
“You can just imagine if you were in their shoes, you would have all these questions,” said Fernandez Rundle. “And they're looking for answers. It’s a very human reaction and we understand it. And we've unfortunately been through this a number of times, but it would be unfair to everybody involved to rush to judgment, to do shortcuts to try to get to answers. So, you know, what I'm hopeful is that they'll understand. They may not like it and I understand that reaction, but to respect the process, to respect the law, it's going to take time."
Immediately after the two-hour meeting, McNeil's family said that unlike their meeting with Chief Exposito, they were pleased with how Rundle treated them.
"I left there with a better feeling,” said Sheila McNeil. “I left there feeling that maybe they do care. That's very important because we're not going away, our family is going to stand until this thing is resolved, because I don't want any other family to suffer the way we have. Believe me, it's been horrible."
Patricia Rice, a relative of Travis’ and a former law enforcement officer, was asked whether she felt good about the meeting with Fernandez Rundle. "Yes, I did,” she said. “I came out with the feeling that justice will be served."
The family also says they sought a meeting with the new Miami city manager who will decide whether Chief Exposito will be fired. But the family says he refused.