Luke's Gospel: Miami's inner-city parks need more police

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 calls for Miami's black political caucus to stop drive-by shootings.

Last week, in broad daylight, two gunmen — one carrying an AK-47 — opened fire on a crowd of people having some summer fun at West Little River Park. Four innocent children participating in football and cheerleading workouts were wounded. The incident hit close to home for me. The day before, I was at West Little River with my 2-year-old son and Miami Northwestern Senior High football players for a community outreach program. I remember when I was growing up in Liberty City, you never saw the level of gang activity out on the streets today.

Making sure police are patrolling our parks during the summer, when there are larger congregations of people hanging out, is a no-brainer.

The City of Miami and Miami-Dade County police departments also have to take on a greater role in participating in the youth programs offered at the parks. Off-duty officers used to coach little-league football, including the Liberty City Optimist Club that I have supported for many years. Doing so helps the cops gain the community's trust while giving them the ability to distinguish between the criminals and the innocent bystanders. I'm talking about fighting crime in a proactive manner, instead of reacting to an incident after it happens. At least that's how it used to be.

This is why Miami's African-American politicians need to band together like the Cuban-American delegation does to solve the community's problems. Let's face it — the shootings in the inner city are not a problem for Cuban-American politicians. You see only black leaders come out after the shootings, holding news conferences to denounce the No Snitching culture or the police departments.

Well, if the African-American politicians, with their fancy hats and fashionable suits, would come down from their thrones and work with the community, we can stop the innocent person from getting shot. I suggest Miami-Dade's black congressional leaders, state legislators, and county and city commissioners get together at least once a month to discuss solutions to the violence and poverty that have destroyed neighborhoods such as Little River, Liberty City, and Overtown.

Their first order of business should be ensuring that parks are safe for our kids.