Tuesday, August 17, 2010 at 12:39 p.m.
Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness once made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke says it's time for Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado to fire police Chief Miguel Exposito.
Last week in Overtown, an undercover cop shot a 16-year-old boy whom Miami Police officials claim pointed a gun at another cop posing as a Chinese-food delivery man. Over the weekend, cops got into a shootout with a man wanted on a domestic violence charge. Both suspects ended up dead.
The police shootings come just a month after a rookie cop shot and killed an unarmed black man during a traffic stop. Meanwhile, Liberty City has turned into the Wild West as drug gangs shoot each other fighting for territory. You can blame Miami's summer of violence on one man, police Chief Miguel Exposito.
It took a 17-year-old boy and his toddler niece getting shot for Exposito and the man who picked him for the job, Mayor Tomás Regalado, to wake up to the fact that the police department is not keeping the streets safe.
Now, after a rash of shootings, Exposito is mobilizing his troops to sweep the city for gun-toting criminals. Instead of taking a proactive approach to community policing, Exposito is reacting to the negative press Miami is generating. And that doesn't bode well for citizens, especially the folks in Liberty City, Little Haiti, and Overtown, who will bear the brunt of the crackdown.
This is not an indictment on all of Miami's finest, some of whom I personally know are good, hard-working officers. I know that Miami Police officers don't wake up in the morning saying to themselves: "Today I'm going to shoot black folks in Overtown."
It falls on Exposito, a close friend of the mayor's who was tapped to replace John Timoney.
Whatever you think of the Irishman, he was very effective at reducing the number of times Miami cops fired their guns, and he did a helluva of job bringing down Miami's crime rate. Exposito has three bodies hanging over him, and he has not even completed his first year on the job.
The city cannot afford to go back to the days of the McDuffie riots. I commend the black community for holding it together. But Regalado needs to take a bold step. He needs to fire Exposito, who is doing a piss-poor job, and bring in someone Miami residents can count on to protect the city from the criminals and trigger-happy officers.