DORAL, FL – Miami-Dade County will have a civilian police review board once again after 11 years when it was cancelled due to budget constraints.
Now it will be called Independent Civilian Panel and its main duty is to investigate citizen complaints of excessive force and other types of misconduct by county police officers.
The 13-member panel will have permission to inspect all closed Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPC) internal-affair files and make suggestions regarding police department policies, procedures, training and recruitment.
This new civilian police review board became a reality yesterday when commissioners voted 8-5 to relive it.
Miami New Times reported that Mayor Carlos Giménez, who has vetoed the panel twice in the past two years, despite commission approval, would not use his veto power a third time.
Commissioners Audrey Edmonson, Sally Heyman, Eileen Higgins, Barbara Jordan, Daniella Levine Cava, Jean Monestime, Dennis Moss, and Xavier Suarez voted yes to the panel, while commissioners Esteban Bovo, Jose “Pepe” Diaz, Joe Martinez, Rebeca Sosa, and Javier Souto voted no.
The panel is a result of years of advocacy from social-justice groups and Commissioner Barbara Jordan, the main legislative sponsor of measures to reinstate civilian oversight in the county.
In a statement provided to Miami New Times, Barbara Jordan said “the community will finally get an Independent Civilian Panel to provide increased transparency to reported allegations of police misconduct.”
“The panel is a critical first step to creating trust, oversight, and transparency between law enforcement and the community,” Daniella Levine Cava, who had also advocated for civilian oversight of police, said in a statement.
Miami-Dade County started a police board back in 1980 after riots raised by the acquittal of four county police officers involved in the fatal beating of Arthur McDuffie. The board was cancelled in 2009 due to the economic recession.
The killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, that also awaken the subject of racial inequities, brought back the discussion about the police accountability in civilian matters.