The emotion is palpable inside Overtown's St. John's Baptist Church, where almost 200 gathered last night to demand answers from Mayor Tomas Regalado and Police Chief Miguel Exposito. The two appealed for calm and patience, and local leaders echoed that message.
But it's evident that the memory of the McDuffie Riots and the early 2000s rash of police shootings are still a painful wound. More than one activist laid into Regalado and his chief over the shooting -- including Gerald Muhammad, who absolutely lets them have it in the video after the jump.
Muhammad, speaking directly behind a visibly uncomfortable Exposito, brings up Arthur McDuffie, the man whose death in 1979 at the hands of five white cops sparked one of the worst race riots in U.S. history.
"For the police department to do an act like that in broad daylight on what appears to be an innocent man," Muhammad says. "How long is it going to take, Mr. Mayor? ... Come back and show this family justice."
The facts surrounding the shooting are still emerging. The Miami Herald reports this morning that the shooter was Joseph Marin, a 34-year-old rookie with just a few months on the job.
It's not clear what caused him to shoot Decarlos Moore, a 36-year-old. Marin and his training officer pulled over Moore around 11:30 a.m. on Monday on the 1600 block of NW 3rd Ave.
According to the Herald, Moore had exited the car, but ducked his head back inside as the cops approached. When he came out of the car, Marin fired and struck him in the head. He died on the way to the hospital.
"After the shooting yesterday, some people told me it was too soon to meet with you all today," Regalado told the crowd. "But we need to listen to the people. That's why we're all here."
Moore did have a criminal record, including an arrest this past January for robbery.
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But family members angrily decried the media for reporting on that record, asking what relevance it had to a shooting that seemed unconnected to any criminal behavior.
"We are preparing to funeralize a man who wasn't shot in a bank robbery, not in a drug deal, not in a drive by, but by a police officer at a traffic stop," said the Rev. Gaston Smith, who is representing Moore's family. "We have to ask, why did he lose his life at 36 years of age?"
Tim Elfrink is an investigative reporter and the managing editor of Miami New Times. He's won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.