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
In the summer of 2002, a Florida Memorial junior and campus resident named Phylise Johnson ended a summer fling with 24-year-old Opa-locka resident Jervon Antonio Smith, who was not a student. She was thoroughly creeped out by the "compulsive liar" who intermittently claimed to be a policeman and a pastor even though he was in fact unemployed, she later explained in a court deposition. He had secretly stalked Johnson since seeing her in an FMU commercial.
Smith didn't take the breakup well, she claimed. He "flattened the tires" on her Honda, showed up at her part-time job to "smack [her] around the face," and stole her cell phone. Smith — who has since been accused by another woman of "repeat violence" and has been convicted of making threatening phone calls — vowed to end Johnson's life, saying, "Bitch, you going to be pushing daisies," she claimed.
Johnson "developed a serious concern" about her stalker and "on several occasions" contacted school officials and security guards to warn they "should keep a look-out for Mr. Smith," according to a claim later filed in Miami-Dade civil court.
15900 NW 42 Ave.
Opa-locka, FL 33054
Region: Miami Gardens
The guards — a six-man force then subcontracted from USA Security and each paid an hourly wage ranging from $8.25 to $9.50, according to contracts filed in court — ignored the warnings, Johnson later claimed. In the early morning of September 7, 2002, Smith easily bypassed the vehicle checkpoint by simply walking on to campus. He was a former Florida Memorial guard himself, Johnson explained in court, so he knew of that glaring flaw in campus security.
Smith loitered in Johnson's residency hall for "over an hour," waiting for her, "without being confronted by any agents, security personnel, or employees." At 9 a.m., she was pulling into the parking lot when Smith suddenly appeared.
"He swung open the door and was... pulling me out and hitting me in the face," she later recalled under oath. Striking back while trying to escape, she "stumbled out of the car" and passed out, but not before witnessing his final brutal flourish: "I could see his foot stomping my face."
Four of Johnson's teeth were kicked loose. She would required reconstructive surgery to put her upper lip back together.
Convicted of aggravated stalking and battery, Jervon Smith spent 270 days in prison. In May 2004, Phylise Johnson filed suit against Florida Memorial and USA Security alleging negligence for failing to prevent the attack, "staff an adequate number of security guards," or implement "a system... to prevent unauthorized individuals" from entering campus. In November 2005, the suit was settled for an undisclosed amount.
About a year later, Florida Memorial dismissed USA, signing an $800,000-per-year contract with Vanguard Security, according to a press release at the time. Soon enough, the latest company also would find itself in litigious soup stemming from a violent incident on campus.
The night and early morning following Barack Obama's presidential win on November 4, 2008, was one of nearly pure joy on FMU's campus, recalls student Robert, who was then a freshman. But "there were a few ignorant folks who just saw it as another opportunity to get drunk and act rowdy," he says.
Around 2 that morning, according to a police report, Angelia Franklin received an alarming phone call from her niece Ciera Warren, an FMU student. She heard only crying and "No!" being shouted in the background. Angelia woke up her three teenage children — Jimmy, Joshua, and Keianna — packed them into her car, and headed for the campus.
After being waved through by security guards, who, according to the police report, "stated that they had heard something about a disturbance on campus," the family encountered a "mob" scene in the parking lot outside of Ciera's residence hall — a large group of young men and women "agitated" and chanting. When Keianna got out of the car to find her cousin, she was attacked by a "smaller girl" who began "striking and punching her." When Keianna's 17-year-old brother Jimmy jumped out of the car to defend her, "a large crowd of boys surrounded [him] and began to hit and kick him" as his mother screamed in horror. As the smaller girl, now armed with a baseball bat, smashed through the car's front window, another female student threw rocks at the family trapped in the vehicle.
Suddenly, a gunshot rang out. The attackers scattered, and Jimmy was left bleeding on the pavement, shot in the arm. Security guards, who arrived too late to prevent the shooting, only impeded the family's "escape" from campus by snatching her car keys, Angelia Franklin would later claim.
Four men and two women were arrested for the mob attack. The two female students involved, Melene Lisme and Shon-Ashley Runcie, were expelled. A 20-year-old nonstudent named Job Howard was "positively identified" as shooting Jimmy Franklin and charged with attempted murder.
It was a particularly violent 24 hours on campus. The night following the mob attack, five males — wearing black bandannas over their faces and brandishing handguns and a crowbar — stormed a student's dorm room and held him at silent gunpoint before making off with his laptop.
In May 2009, Angelia Franklin filed suit against Florida Memorial and Vanguard. Among the claims: The university "should have known that there was a history of criminal activity" at the school.
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.