Earlier this month, Miami-Dade County Police Director Juan Perez stood in front of the county commission and with a straight face insisted increased civilian oversight of his police department is "not needed."
An open lawsuit that was moved to federal court last week casts doubt on that claim. According to the legal filing, Officer Mark Slimack remains on the force despite 16 complaints against him, including ten from black suspects. In fact, the suit says that every complaint came from an "ethnic minority or a woman" and that many of those complaints were for using excessive force.
Despite all of those concerns, Slimack was still on the force in 2014 when Shareese Jackson, a black woman, says he choked her, beat her, and slammed her face into the side of his police cruiser right after she'd received surgery to fix a broken jaw. The suit alleges that after the assault, Jackson's jaw became infected and the recovery left her with permanent facial scars.
"You're choking me!" Jackson says she screamed during the attack. "You're supposed to be helping me!"
MDPD does not comment on open lawsuits as a policy.
According to the suit, which was filed this past November, Slimack rolled up to Hunter's Hurricane Lounge in Homestead New Year's Day 2014 after someone at the bar called to report a fight. Jackson says she was standing on the sidewalk out front when Slimack walked up to the building. She says that she immediately asked for his help but that Slimack rebuffed her and went inside. She also says he pushed her out of his way.
When Slimack came back outside after failing to find a fight in the bar, he asked her what was wrong. She says she called him an "asshole" for not helping her earlier and said she no longer needed his services. This set him off, she claims.
"In response to Ms. Jackson's comment, Defendant Slimack grabbed Ms. Jackson by the arm and back of the neck and violently slammed her face and upper body against his marked police car," the suit says.
She says Slimack yelled that if she was going to "call him an asshole," he would "show her an asshole." She says he then switched from slamming her face to choking her against the vehicle. The suit says he caused "excruciating pain."
She says he then accused her of being drunk, which she
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Jackson said that no one provided medical
The pain persisted
In the meantime, the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office dropped the charges of disorderly intoxication. Jackson is now suing for excessive force and battery.
Two weeks ago, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez vetoed the creation of an independent police-oversight panel run by civilians.