Miami-Dade County

Miami-Dade Mayor Considers Civilian Investigative Panel for County

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Miami-Dade police are now investigatIng a rough takedown of a Kendall man who went out to protest over the weekend over the death of George Floyd.

The man, Ariel Alfaro, says it was unnecessary that he ended up on the pavement as he was getting arrested in downtown Miami. Adam Hendel had his camera rolling and provided the video to the NBC 6 Investigators.

“Would something like that go to a citizens investigative panel? Yes, it would,” Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said when asked during a media briefing Thursday.

The City of Miami has one of these panels, but is the county closer to having one too now? Gimenez said he’s for the panel and will fund it, but that comes with some conditions about how the panel is set up and limits on who would appear to testify during an investigation.  

With protestors calling for more scrutiny on police, some believe the time is now for a citizen panel for Miami-Dade to be established.

“I have no problem with a citizens investigative panel, again, like I said. I just want to make sure that the commissioners have the right to appoint whoever they want to appoint and it's balanced and fair,” Gimenez said.

Back in 2018, Gimenez vetoed the measure that would have funded a panel. He also wanted to prevent county workers outside of law enforcement employees from coming to testify before the panel. 

The police director says he’s always on the lookout for ways supervisors can see what’s going on in the streets. 

“We have several layers of investigation. I even reorganized the department to ensure that we have a more streamlined process in not only investigating issues, but identifying trends before they become a problem," said Miami-Dade Police Director Freddie Ramirez.

The City of Miami’s panel (CIP) takes citizens' complaints, investigations and if it finds violations, makes a recommendation back to the police chief.

“One of the biggest things about the CIP, where I personally see the biggest value, that they are completely separate from the police department, right?  That’s where that independent part comes in. They have an open door to me and I have an open door to them,” City of Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina said.

However, Colina does have the final say in Miami on what happens. Gimenez says he recognizes that not every single resident trusts the police, but that hasn’t stopped the outreach to communities. With those concerns he’s addressed resolved, the mayor says he will fund the panel if the commission sends it his way.

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