Liberty Square Christmas Eve murder

With three kids crammed into a small apartment in the boisterous Liberty Square housing project, rest didn't always come easily to Natasha Moore and Phillip Arthur. On Christmas Eve morning, the young couple wanted to sleep in. But just after 9 a.m., music began vibrating the tissue-thin wall separating them from their neighbor, Dorian Hinkson, a 51-year-old widower with a short, graying Afro.

So Arthur, a 24-year-old whose wide-set eyes, broad nose, and easy smile lent him a trustworthy, guileless air, got out of bed, walked outside, and pounded on Hinkson's door. "Turn it down!" he shouted.

Hinkson grabbed a brown-handled folding knife, swung the door open, and with one thrust, sunk the blade straight into Arthur's chest. By the time an ambulance screamed into the projects, Arthur had bled to death in Moore's arms as their children sobbed in the background.

The horrific holiday crime kneecapped Miami's oldest housing project — highlighting not only cops' inability to stem the violence but also an expensive and elaborate camera surveillance system's failure to help Arthur or prevent the dozen drive-by shootings that have recently peppered the project.

Even more tragically, Arthur's senseless death came at the hands of a man who is obviously mentally ill and should have received treatment long ago. Neighbors say they had complained repeatedly to housing officials about the alleged killer. No one responded, and like most other Liberty Square residents, Arthur and his family were powerless to move away.

"There's no protection for us. Police don't care, the tenant council don't care," says Yvette Norton, who has lived in a building facing Arthur's unit for almost five years. "It's just a bad situation, but none of us can get out of here."

Liberty Square hasn't always been a synonym for hopelessness and violence. When civic leaders petitioned President Franklin Roosevelt in 1933 for federal funds, the project was hailed as a utopian solution to black poverty. At the time, most of Miami's blacks lived in a plumbing- and electricity-free ghetto near Overtown. When the first 200 units — neatly whitewashed and lined with palms — opened in 1937, chief backer John Gramling predicted they would "be one of the greatest blessings Miami ever had," according to a history of the units by local historian Paul George.

The dream had become a nightmare by the mid-'70s, when middle-class tenants were pushed out to make room for more needy newcomers. Soon a new nickname stuck for the houses: Pork 'n' Beans. (Disputes remain about the name's origin, which likely referred to either a common meal for residents or an orange paint job.) In 1980, the nation learned about the project's deterioration when vicious riots broke out following Arthur McDuffie's killing by Miami-Dade cops.

Phillip Arthur grew up far from Pork 'n' Beans, amid a big extended family in South Miami Heights, where he attended Ruth Owen Middle School and later graduated from Miami Killian Senior High. But after he and Moore began having children — son Phillip Jr. and daughters Anijah and Tanijah — the couple wanted to make their own life in Miami.

Arthur's family, like most Liberty Square tenants, had stayed for a couple years but wanted to leave. Today there's a waiting list of more than 1,000 names of residents asking to leave Pork 'n' Beans. But the young dad didn't just have the bad fortune of ending up in one of Miami's worst housing projects; he also got stuck in a single-story, blue-painted unit that shared a wall with Hinkson's home.

About five years ago, the unemployed native of St. Vincent lost his wife, neighbors say. And then his kids moved out. Hinkson, in turn, began struggling with serious mental illness — and with police.

In October 2005, he was arrested with two other men in Miami Beach after a woman spotted them looting her car outside the Fontainebleau Hotel and speeding off with three of her handbags. (The charges were never prosecuted.)

Then, in February 2008, Hinkson wandered up to a police stop near Liberty Square where two officers had found a gun in a car. When the cops told him to back away, Hinkson became enraged, shoving one officer, punching another, and yelling that he was a "third-degree black belt." He was convicted of felony battery on a police officer but served only 22 days in jail.

Soon after his release in March that year, Hinkson walked into a small grocery store just outside Liberty Square. He was carrying a two-by-four and swung it wildly at a clerk before repeatedly punching him in the face. When police arrested Hinkson outside, he told them: "I hate those fucking Arabs." (Again, the case wasn't prosecuted.)

Neighbors, meanwhile, tried to avoid Hinkson. He had taken to wandering around Liberty Square while mumbling to himself and yelling at passersby. Often he'd carry a long knife taped to the inside of his forearm, says Ericka, a teenager who lives nearby and declined to give her last name. Many residents complained to the tenant council, a group that screens complaints and advocates for residents. (Council members didn't respond to repeated messages seeking comment.)

"Everyone tried to stay away from him because he was crazy," Ericka says.

1
 
2
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
15 comments
occupytruth
occupytruth

No one wants to talk about the culture of selling crack cocaine and the rappers that become millionaires glorifying this lifestyle. 24-7 music is played in a "projects" when this is all kids hear all they this is what they become. The pork n beans is a endless cycle thats needs change from within. Until athletes, rappers and so called reverends start preaching education not bling, nothing will change.

Need4speed420
Need4speed420

there was another shooting yesterday the 11th i was at liberty mart on 62st i heard about 6 shots, i thought nothing of it , cuz it happens all the time there,,i found out that A woman shot her boyfriend ,,this bs needs to stop this happend at 3pm and there were kids everywhere, something needs to be done about this,,,,i happen to service stores all over liberty city and its very sad the conditions that these poor people have too edure day to day, its simply as bad as it can get in the united states...98% of miami residents have no idea or wont even go thru liberty city...

Ttsturrup
Ttsturrup

I was raised in the beans.that the norm.

THE VOICE
THE VOICE

Sorry about that. Got that wrong. But it still applies to a segment of Blacks. Many of these dude never grew up. Some of these old men think they are still bad and want to try to nut-roll on society. I know, I used to nut-roll myself. But He isn't crazy. He was a Black Ass Demon whose ass needed a good kicking. I know. They used to come into the cell block with that bull shit. Whip Whop and they'd straighten up. Sentence these old suckers to some cruel and unusual punishment, like WaterBoarding and you wont need Haldol.

THE VOICE
THE VOICE

It's not the Blacks. "F" the racial BS. You had a big fat stinkin/, loud mouthed slob with a heart and mind filled with bitterness seeking revenge for what she had become. There's a whole herd of these Pachyderms around the Ghetto. They aint even real. I wish one would even look at me wrong. I can't carry a gun anymore and that's why I keep my mace and straight razor handy. I slaughter the Bitch like the Big Black Hog that she is.

Typical
Typical

Typical. Elected officials like Michelle Spence-Jones only care about scamming money for themselves. Nobody cares when poor blacks kill poor blacks.

ivxx
ivxx

what a sad story... they had so many chances to arrest this obviously unstable man...

Joseph
Joseph

THE SYSTEM LET THIS DWEED SKATE TOO LONG. THE SYSTEM IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE VICTIMS DEATH.

Hector Gonzales
Hector Gonzales

Yeah, blame the system that also provided for the victim. If he wanted to move so bad, he could have worked harder. If he hadn't (as the article says) banged on the door of mentally unstable man, screaming at him, he would still be alive. If he could have kept his dick in his pants, or at least practiced responsible contraception, he wouldn't have to live there in the first place. If he had more than a high school diploma, he could be earning enough to move. Every man puts himself on his own path to destruction. The choices the "victim" made are what put him in front of that knife, not the system.

I will cry tears of joy the day I see the bulldozers arrive to raze this depressing pit of crime.

White people - cleaning up minorities' shit since 1964!

rodellison
rodellison

@Hector Gonzales hector ur a wet back, trust me, white people don't give a fuck about you or ur little monkeys either

rodellison
rodellison

@Hector Gonzales remember hector your still a wet back, whites don't give a fu*k about you either. Remember that

Thakid1417
Thakid1417

Hector Gonzales you are obviously what is also wrong with the system. It is apparent that you are a racist ASSHOLE who doesn't know the victim and what he was going through. At least he was employed and tried to make an honest living for himself and his family. How dare you make the statements that you made without knowing someone. That just goes to show you how the HUMAN RACE in general will never be able to succeed because BULLSHIT such as yourself keeps dragging us all down with your negative being. Noone is perfect so pull your head out of your ass and grow up!DOUCHEBAG!!!!!!!

Joejack380
Joejack380

Wtf. I'm scared of spics and trailer park eses. they run for the border every chance they get. who is killing and touching little kids watch THE news in any major city. yeah black people got along way to go but look at the other crimes that r commited. not once have I seen were it was a black that shot up the local high school killing his fellow classmates cuz his peckerwood Pops couldn't keep his hands of Jrs butt hole the world is CRAZY least I know what a Nigga gone do but u CRAZY honkeys. aka Casey Anthony

Hector Gonzales
Hector Gonzales

Please, professor Thakid, Can you point out ONE thing I said that is not true, or do you just loathe the concept of personal responsibility? I consider personal responsibility a positive thing, not a negative, and it is sorely lacking in the minority community.

Let's look at facts.He and his wife were living with his PARENTS when they started popping out little yard apes. Responsible? Not so much.In a nation that gives money away for people to further their education, he had a diploma, but chose to get his fuck on instead. Responsible? not so much.Knowing that his neighbor is mentally unstable and prone to carrying weapons, he went and banged on the guy's door screaming at him. Responsible? Not so much.He was living in PUBLIC HOUSING, in other words, depending much more on the system to provide for his family than the sweat of his brow. Responsible? Not so much.

I don't expect anyone to be perfect, but blaming the "system" that fed, sheltered and provided medical care for this man and his children for his lapse in judgement is why the black community can't seem to pull itself out of the shitter. This area has ridiculously high crime rates, including murder and drug-related offenses, but it's the people living there doing it, not the system. The system didn't decide for him that 3 kids by age 24 was more important than an education. The system didn't make him move to his little shitty apartment with paper-thin walls and a crazy neighbor. The system didn't make him bang on that door screaming. At every step along the way to his unfortunate end, he had a choice. He chose poorly.

miamiarh
miamiarh

Keep blaming the system, that's gotten you far, lol

 
Loading...