The Miami Police Department has a long-standing, widespread policy and practice of targeting community members with unlawful detentions and false arrests as well as a history of failing to hold accountable police officers who violate the law.
MPD officers are accused of unlawful detentions and false arrests
three times more often than police officers in New Orleans and
sixteen times more often than police officers in New York City.
On December 9, 2017, Miami Police Officer Luis Verne targeted Hannibal Buress, a stand-up comedian and actor, for harassment and arrest after the two men exchanged words. Even though Mr. Buress had not committed any arrestable offense, Officer Verne abused his authority and arrested Mr. Buress in retaliation for Mr. Buress expressing his criticisms of the Miami police officer. Another officer, Elio Villegas, was present the night of Mr. Buress’s false arrest, but failed to intervene.
Unfortunately, Mr. Buress is not the only individual who was targeted by Officer Verne, who has been the subject of multiple investigations relating to use of force and other rights violations. Even to this date, MPD officials have failed to appropriately discipline Officer Verne.
From 2016 until 2017,
73% of all complaints filed with MPD
internal affairs were closed with no finding.
As a direct and proximate result of Officer Verne’s actions, Mr. Buress suffered damages, including pain, suffering, mental distress, anguish, humiliation, loss of liberty, loss of income, and legal expenses.
In 2014, an investigation of the CIP found
that the agency received 400 complaints
every year, but had only one investigator.
As a result, about half of its cases
were closed without a finding.