Officer Reinaldo Goyo, a City of Miami police officer who shot and killed Travis McNeill, a 28-year-old unarmed black man during a traffic stop, has been officially terminated from his position. Goyo had previously avoided criminal manslaughter charges after prosecutors declined to pursuit the case, however the City of Miami Firearms Review Board has concluded that his actions constituted a fireable offense.
McNeil and his cousin Kareem Williams, both African American, were leaving Take One Lounge back on February 10th, 2011. Williams had earlier been escorted out of the club by security. Police believed they were intoxicated, and pulled over their car after following them in unmarked SUV. All in, three police vehicles were involved in the stop.
Goyos approached the driver's side window and claimed he ordered Williams to put his hand up. Goyos claims he believed that McNeil was disobeying his orders, and thought he was reaching for a gun. Goyos then fatally shot McNeil, and Williams was hit with three bullets but survived.
Afterwards, no firearms were found in the car. It was believed that McNeil was merely reaching for his cellphone.
The review board however found that the evidence didn't support Goyos' claims. McNeil was shot in the rear left shoulder blade, which would have been inconsistent with Goyos' story.
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The board also ruled that Goyos should have never directly approached the car in the first place, and should have followed guidelines on felony traffic stops. Therefore, it was concluded Goyos violated the department's "Deadly Force policy."
Goyos however will not face criminal charges. He was cleared by prosecutors in June, 2012. Prosecutors determined, contrary to the review board's findings, that Goyos did have enough reasonable suspicion to think that McNeil was reaching for a weapon.
McNeil's death was the last in the line of seven questionable fatal shootings of young African American men by Miami Police in a seventh month span.