Ford died last night. Investigators have reportedly learned he was unarmed.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating what happened. FDLE would not provide any additional details to New Times via phone today, but unnamed sources involved in the investigation told the Miami Herald that Ford was not carrying a weapon when he was killed. The cop who shot Ford was identified as Sgt. Eduardo
According to MDPD, the officers conducted a routine traffic stop on the corner of NW 15th Avenue and NW 68th Terrace. The cops ID'ed the two
"A perimeter was established and while one of the detectives was conducting an area search within the perimeter, he located the subject," the department announced earlier today. "A confrontation ensued and shots were fired. City of Miami Fire Rescue transported the subject to Jackson Ryder Trauma, where he succumbed to his wounds."
According to county records, Ford pleaded guilty to one count of armed robbery in 2009. He served seven years in prison, but a warrant was issued for his arrest in July after he allegedly violated his probation.
MDPD declined to comment via email. But John Rivera, who heads Sergeant Pares' union, the Dade County Police Benevolent Association, said the cop was a backup officer who shot Ford after the victim allegedly refused commands to stop fleeing.
"He saw an individual that met the man's description, gave a short foot chase, was giving the man commands to stop, and the individual refused all his commands," Rivera said via phone. "Then there comes a point in time when the man turns around and starts reaching in his waistband. The officer felt he was reaching for a firearm and was in fear of his life, and he discharged his weapon."
It's important to note that Rivera was caught lying to the public after a North Miami cop shot unarmed Charles Kinsey last year, so the union head's statements need to be taken with a big dose of salt. Rivera said he could not confirm whether Ford had a weapon.
The housing projects were state-of-the-art at the time, but the area has been neglected and treated poorly ever since. Activists say many Liberty City residents are still trapped in cycles of poverty, unable to escape the neighborhood's violence or work their way out of the area. The neighborhood was immortalized in the Oscar-winning film Moonlight.
"We've seen Liberty Square go from being an idyllic place to being Dade County operating a slum," Freeman Wyche, the longtime pastor of the Liberty City Church of Christ, told New Times in 2015. The county is now moving forward with a controversial plan to replace the so-called Pork 'n' Beans projects with a new facility that mixes affordable-housing units with regular apartments.
In the meantime, police and residents still have an uneasy relationship. In 2011, City of Miami Police cops fatally shot seven black men in eight months, including multiple residents of Liberty City. Police have also used the area to test controversial surveillance technologies, including ShotSpotter, a gunshot-detecting microphone system that critics say might not actually make people safer.
The neighborhood's residents say they're
Now Miami-Dade Police must once again answer why another reportedly unarmed man died at the hands of one of their officers.