By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
Charged with felony battery, Mitchell would spend more than a week in jail before his frat brothers scraped together $2,500 to bail him out.
What led to Emory Mitchell ending up in a bathroom with several security guards, and what exactly happened once he was there, depends on whom you ask.
According to the account the security guards, subcontracted from national security provider Allied Barton, gave police, 22-year-old officer Harry Monestime caught Mitchell tossing a blunt into the lagoon at the center of campus. Mitchell began shoving, and backup was needed to restrain the irate and violent student after he fled into the bathroom. The police report made no mention of the guards wielding nightsticks or Finley pulling a gun.
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It's impossible to argue with the video — which was posted on New Times' Riptide 2.0 blog and then aired on several local news shows the next evening — but that doesn't mean FMU's administration didn't give it the old college try. The school responded to reporters' inquiries by releasing a signature-less statement that pointedly referred to the video as "amateur [and] edited." They reported that Mitchell had been suspended indefinitely.
"The security officers involved in the incident attempted to restrain the male student, who responded by assaulting the security officers," the statement continued.
Not until the next day did the school, perhaps owing to pressure from students, announce it had replaced the gun-drawing Finley.
In hindsight, the administration's instant condemnation of Mitchell was a foolhardy — and perhaps libelous — stance. On November 18, a month after the near-riot, prosecutors dropped the criminal charge against Mitchell after guards failed to appear in court.
In an interview three weeks after the melee, FMU's interim president, Sandra T. Thompson, strains for neutrality. She tells New Times that neither Mitchell's suspension nor Finley's replacement was a presumption of guilt. "Emory was charged with a crime, so it's our policy that he be immediately suspended," she says. "We just felt that given the sentiment on campus, it would be best to replace that guard."
Now Mitchell, who is being represented pro bono by the late Johnnie Cochran's law firm, has gone on the offensive. He's angling for a "public retraction" from the school and his reinstatement as a student, and to have abuse and reckless endangerment charges levied against the guards. Though his lawyer, Joseph Vredevelt, says he is pursuing civil action against the school and security company, Mitchell tells New Times he is not looking for a payday: "This isn't about money."
His Facebook status updates express a different sentiment. He spells out his terms exactly, demanding $1 million "times how many times I got hit with that nightstick" — which, according to him, is three. "Flo Mo [Florida Memorial] better go ahead and work that payment plan out now!"
HIST 203: Roots of an Institution
In 1879, the Black Baptists of Florida, a ballsy missionary contingent that believed black education was the only route to eventual integration in America, founded the Florida Baptist Institute in Live Oak, Florida — a railroad-stop-with-a-big-tree just south of the Georgia border. This was KKK country, and lynchings were commonplace. The institute dispensed with white professors, whom violent segregationists had labeled "carpetbaggers," after one was threatened at gunpoint and two black students were tied up and shot to death.
In those harrowing early days, the institution that would become Florida Memorial University developed what remains its specialty: the education of educators. Explains Paul George, historian at the Historical Museum of Southern Florida: "At that time, segregation actually created a niche industry for black teachers."
In 1941, the Baptist Institute moved to a former slave plantation in St. Augustine, where it merged with Florida Normal and Industrial Institute, the proud black institution where "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" — also known as the Black National Anthem — had been penned. The new school would become Florida Memorial College (not accredited as a university until 2006) and include in its faculty famed novelist Zora Neale Hurston.
In 1968, Florida Memorial relocated to its current 56-acre campus in what was then unincorporated Northwest Dade County in order to tap into urban Miami's black population.
Johnny Duncombe, now a retired Broward County Public Schools principal, was in the first South Florida class that graduated in 1972. He recalls the scrappy college scrambling on a shoestring budget, with students living in trailer-like "habitats" and TV dinner-style meals being trucked in, warmed on the spot, and devoured in classrooms.
Although the former principal is eager to attest that Florida Memorial made him what he is today as an educator, he recalls a whiff of scandal chasing its administration. "When I was in school there, I heard folks accusing the financial aid officer of stealing funds," he says. "Controllers, directors, and financial officers were always coming and going — here one year and gone the next."
Dusty court records prove the newly minted Miami institution's financial and administration woes were more than rumor. From 1973 to 1983, Florida Memorial was named as a defendant in a whopping 101 civil suits, 29 of them for allegedly not paying bills. The college was sued by Xerox; textbook suppliers McGraw-Edison, Penguin Books, and Merrill Publishing; a business providing security dogs; and even a trash company. In all, Florida Memorial has been sued for indebtedness 66 times since 1973.
My gosh..."Organized Cause Stalkers" in the flesh. The security guards at FMU have become criminals, and "Organized Mobbers". They remind me of the same scum at the University of Delaware. Bored U.D.scumbags just like FMU, that manufacture crime because they have nothing better to do but sit around and enage in bullying, and mobbing others. Man, I can not imagine trying to study in that type of eviroment. My fear would be too great with those "organized cause stalkers" running around FMU. I would place five locks on my dorm door. They should fire all those security guard "Rent-A-Slops".
No way, blacks are more violent than any other people? And are more prone to harming there own kind? GTFO !
This would be news if everyone here treated each other with dignity and respect. The law of the jungle is what one would expect here and that's exactly what we've got.
Historically black university. The writer waited until the end of the 4th paragraph to reveal this. Even he knows no one would care or would be shocked had he revealed this in the title or the first sentence of the 1st paragraph.
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Wait, you mean there is a higher crime rate in areas that have a black majority? G.T.F.Outta here...
Yeah Florida Memorial has a shady reputation here. I know one of the security guards that works there and he said that he had seen more in 4 years Florida Memorial than in 12 years of truck driving... go figure...
Wow Rausky,I'm glad to see that you know ALL African Americans to be able to affirm that all African Americans hate Cubans! Your statement is as stupid as yourself, and is one of the reasons that this city is so divided. Do yourself a favor, keep your mouth shut when you don't have anything intelligent to say. I am African American and both of my sons have Cuban godfathers. I'm sure I chose them because I hate Cubans. Idiota!
the solution for this trainwreck of a school is to hire 2 or 3 white people, and also a couple of white guards. then they can blame white people for their problems. and that moron fighting with the guards and then filing a lawsuit against them: rodney king, rodney king!!! gimmee some moneyyy! one of the posters on here talked about "why not mention all the crime on white schools" there is NO majority white school in america as bad as this. period. 96% of the students getting financial aid. the school has been sued of 60 times for not paying suppliers. what a trainwreck. instead of suing the school for not protecting you, why not sue the criminal, or better yet, the criminal's parents for raising a thug. and the riot after obama won. that tells a lot. another poster recommmended closing the school and sending the students to other schools. NO THANK YOU. goes to show. you can take the animal out of africa, but you can't take africa out of the animal. just unbelievable. 38% graduation graduation rate. how predictable.
I alsmost agree. Crime isn't that bad, at least on a consistent basis at the school, but when compared to other schools it levels off. No doubt thought, no person on the grounds of a place of higher education wants to feel they may get victimized while just merely trying to learn. Darren Chaker
Scary that students must endure such a hostile environment when they are there to learn and become the future leaders of the nation. Students and faculty must protect themselves the best they can and always be aware of their surroundings. Visit http://www.urbansafetysolution...
Students must take responsibility for their own personal protection because the only one you can expect to rescue you from being another defenseless victim is YOU! http://www.urbansafetysolution...
Good Grief, After reading leo's post, I'd say they should shut the place down for failure to educate, forget the violence! Are these the kind of people we want teaching our children? Is their curriculum even up to standards? Doesn't sound like it. BTW leo - Try taking a course in journalism. The only thing you have in your hand is your .......
Sounds like the best thing to do is shut the zoo down. Spread the students out and place them in other college's. The trouble makers will be weeded out soon enough as their behavior will stand out and they learn that they just plain "aint cool" and aren't going any where.
Please not that the Jay making the comments here is not Jonte Myers....This issue here is not an easy one and it is a serious one..
I currently attend Florida Memorial University and this article is outrages and a lie. Things happen for a reason and you go places Mr. Garcia and see things you want to see them and not they way you should see them. There are always 3 sides to a story and in this case Mr. Garcia, your side, the Universities side and the TRUTH! I know for a fact that the truth is not presented here. All you try to do Mr. Garcia is downgrade African American's and their institutions rather college or religious so you could make your money. I promise if you do not stop, I promise to file a Class Action Lawsuit Against You Mr. Garcia and the Miami New Times for Defamation of Character. Play with it Mr. Garcia, I got you right in my hand.
Karen, what "white" schools??? Last time I checked, the other schools in the miami area are OPEN TO ANYONE who meets the requirements.
Karen, if you would like to point me to any specific local college or university with similar documented problems with crime, I'd gladly look into it.
In the meantime, I'm going to trust the opinions of several students and faculty members who tell me they're glad this article was published.
Did you give white colleges with equal amount of crimes on their campuses the same attention that you seem to be reporting about Florida Memorial University? What's your solution?
If you gays want to move to Miami University or FIU, we cann help you find an apartment in South Florida area.Miami homes and apartments for sale and for rent
Latisha, your perception is supreme. Jay, you are the biggest part of the problem; take a look at yourself and what you said. Oh, and Jay, stay the hell away from schools for all of our sakes.
I'm an alum of FMC and I must say that I'm not surprised. As a student there, one of my sorority sisters was murdered at her job by a fellow student off campus and it was not acknowlwedged by administration at all. In fact, the yearbook staff was brought into one of the administrative offices because they didn't want her death memorialized in the yearbook. After graduation, I attended UM for grad school and there are problems on campus there as well. The difference is, UM goes out of its way to establish communications with students regarding safety and the guards are a constant visible presence on campus. FMU administrators may want to visit other institutions of higher learning to see just what measures are in place to protect students.
JQ, let Alummni Affairs know how you feel. I did. Let them know that the university has to get rid of the bad elements that are ruining it.
As an alumni of Florida Memorial University, I must first say that I love my alma mater with all of its Orange, White, and Blue. However, I can't help but consider how this continuous negative publicity is going to affect my employability and the opportunities available to me, as our student body is not solely comprised of violent glock toting thieves. Our student body is primarily comprised of students who work hard are passionately pursuing their education, and it is my sincere hope that this knowledge is not lost amongst the negative mantra that continues to pervade my institution of higher learning.
Jay, faculty has no power in this matter. Assign blame where it belongs: Administration. They are in charge and chose to do NOTHING about crime on campus.
Well as an actual student of Flo Mo allow me to say shut the fuck up, Karen, because our problems don't need whitewashing. The faculty won't do anything to make our campus safer, and that's a serious problem that needs coverage.
No, I am not employed by the University, and no, I am not Black. I am a concerned citizen who knows about this community and respect the work of all of our institutions. I would say to those who really feel they have reasons to be afraid to consider another institution. There is no way that you can get the most out of the education offered at the University if you are in fear. Also, if you feel that the university is not up to your standards, that too would be a good reason to leave. I hope you find what you need at whatever institution you choose. I am a white female who attended a majority white institution. There was marajuana, cocaine, heroine and LSD used on a regular basis by students, there was theft, vandalism, homocide and rape on my campus during my four years. It just never got such media attention.
#6. Have you taken youe basic Language Arts requirments?What a shame that this Local University has this problem.
karen obviously works for the university and is trying to keep her job...did they write that for you????administrators are taking this place to the crappertime to clean the house
I am very familiar with Florida Memorial University and I know that there are wonderful things that go on on that campus, yet I never see news coverage. Is there a conspiracy to destroy the only Black university in South Florida? It doesn't matter which media reports a story, it is always negative. Please share with the community the fine education that Florida Memorial is providing to low income, first generation college students. Tell the story of how this institution nurture the social and career development of of teacher and other professionals. This institution has literally transformed the lives of so many young people from this community, and its a shame that they get known for negative
it's not just students, faculty and staff are scared toothe trustees better fix this messfire most of the administratorsget rid of the delinquents
I have a friend whose son is studying there on a basketball scholarship.She has told me her son who is black and of Cuban origin has been discriminated and treated like a second class citizen at that university.Her son was forced to sit on the floor of the bus at one of the last basketball games in Northern Florida. I asked why did her son go to that school. She said it was for a basketball scholarship. I told her that afroamericans hate Cubans, even if they're black like them. SHe is also very concerned about the rising campus violence. I wouldn't recommend this university to anyone, noo matter what race.