Miami-Dade Civilian Review Board in Works as Police Outline Policies, Protests Continue

The measure comes before the Miami-Dade Commission on June 16th

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Protesters gathered for another rally and march Monday outside the public defender's office in Miami, as Miami-Dade Police released a letter to community outlining their policies.

In the letter, the department said chokeholds are not allowed, that officers should move to deescalate situations, that officers should send warnings prior to taking any lethal or non-lethal action, and that officers should step in and stop other officers when they witness policy violations.

The letter added that supervisors are closely looking at any incidents where there may have been excessive force.

Police Director Freddie Ramirez said that while some protestors claim the protections for officers in the state law and union contracts are a hurdle to accountability, he can act when needed.

Ramirez pointed to the firing of officer Alejandro Giraldo soon after a viral video surfaced on his encounter with a South Dade woman, Dyma Loving.

"I can terminate, like the terrible issue that happened in South district with an officer and a female that officer was fired," Ramirez said. "I headed the investigation. What we saw was so egregious, bad, so disturbing that we terminated him and now it’s put to process and the Bill of Rights didn’t stop me from doing that."

NBC 6 asked the police union if Giraldo was appealing but the union said they weren’t representing him.

And when it comes for calls to defund police, Miami-Dade Commissioner Barbara Jordan, who initiated the call for the citizens panel to review police actions, said there is a misinterpretation.

"I don’t think they mean to defund the police as they mean to redirect services, some of the things that police do," Jordan said. "Perhaps they are talking about redirecting the funding so that that funding can go to mental health programs or drug treatment programs."

NBC 6 also spoke with the President of the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association, Steadman Stahl, who said that the union is all behind community involvement and aiding residents when it comes to protecting them.

“In some districts in the poorer neighborhoods we put officers out there and we refurbish houses," Stahl said.

Stahl said he is concerned though about reductions in the police budget and who that could ultimately impact.

"We provide to the citizens a right to be safe. Defunding a police department, it just defies logic," Stahl said. "I don’t understand it, but if you are going to pull away monies from a police department, what communities do you think are going to be affected first and hit the hardest?"

On Monday, Miami-Dade County said one of the items that the protesters have been calling for - a panel of civilians to investigate complaints about police - is moving forward.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez and the Chair of the Commission Audrey Edmunson said they are working with Commissioiner Jordon, who two years ago initiated the idea.

"I initiated it in the first place because the community was clamoring for it. I was approached by the NAACP and a number of leaders who wanted to try and make sure that we were being responsive to community needs. Hopefully when I bring it back on the 16th it will be different," Jordan said.

"I do believe the community should have input. We should all be speaking together and stuff like that," Stahl said. "I would like to see what the plan's going to be. I don’t think there’s a problem when the community wants to have input like that, but the oversight I am a little concerned with, what’s going to be the criteria for the members of the board."

The process to develop who is on the panel and how the panel would function is being ironed out. Gimenez had some concerns on how the members are selected and the last time this came up he vetoed it because of those concerns. The measure comes before the Miami-Dade Commission on June 16th.

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